Mr Simon Josebury

Research project: Re-routing Disinterest


This research asks how the notion of aesthetic distance conditions the production of meaning, and the act of looking. With the beauty–utility distinction within aesthetic theory as a framework, it examines the 18th century ‘culture of taste', the conception of disinterested contemplation within it, and then employs distance as a device, to examine the formal and material representation of aesthetic categories through printed matter and moving image.

This research will ask:

  • What is the relationship between the philosophical construction of an autonomous aesthetic realm and the idea of distance from utility?
  • How does this 18th century autonomous space of contemplation correlate to the conditions of existence of a contemporaneous emerging mercantile class?
  • How does the requirement for universally valid aesthetic judgments correspond to modern conceptions of critical distance? 
  • Can investigation of the formal representation of theoretical categories serve to usefully interrogate those propositions?


I have over twenty years of independent professional practice in the design of art and philosophy publications for international institutions, galleries, artists and publishers (see:

See also:

Areas of research interest

  • Aesthetic categories
  • Distance
  • Disinterested contemplation
  • Detachment
  • Critical distance
  • Taste
  • Utility
  • Autonomy
  • Moving image
  • Printed matter


  • MA: Modern European Thought, University of Greenwich, London (1993)
  • Certificate of Advanced Studies, Graphic Design, St. Martin's School of Art, London (1983)
  • Southern Regional Diploma, Graphic Design, Berkshire College of Art and Design, Reading (1982)

Funding or awards received

  • 2016 – Techne Funded PhD candidate


. 'Sublime (Hurts So Good)' commissioned essay, Paragraph, vol. 17, no.3, Edinburgh University Press (1994)

. 'Why Paul Thek is a saint', commissioned review, Untitled magazine, no.22, summer 2000