In this essay, Sebastian Olma explores the possibilities of reformulating a notion of aesthetic autonomy for our time. As even a cursory look at the history of aesthetics reveals, the question of autonomy was from the very beginning related to that of Weltbezug, i.e., art’s appropriate relation to the world. By linking current debates around art and aesthetic practice to important thinkers of the ... [Show full abstract] aesthetic revolution at the turn of the 19th century, Olma searches for the contours of a timely configuration of autonomy and Weltbezug. He finds them in what he calls an aesthetic of performative defiance. It is an aesthetic that is performative in the sense of going along with the movement of the world while defiantly rejecting the temptation of linearity and predictability.