Mr Simon Josebury

Research project: Looking Good: rank, trade and the element of distance


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