The concept of beauty has returned to become a highly contested topic within current artistic and cultural debates. This proposal contributes to this discussion by taking as its framework the aesthetic opposition between beauty and utility, yet distinctively, it will examine how the formulation of distance from utility is constructed theoretically and echoed socially. In considering this issue, I will probe the seemingly disparate areas of aesthetic theory, sociology, and military studies to explore that cultural point where the cultivation of aesthetic ‘taste’ arises – in the shift from bodily adornment to where symbols stand apart as art, giving rise to the production, collection and display of highly valued non-utilitarian objects. This study will be pursued in two ways, theoretically in written research, and practically by examining the possibilities for an expanded conception of publication as practice, investigating printed matter in its widest sense and to the extent where techniques of mechanical reproduction practically interrogate the notion of distance from utility. I will then go on to extend the idea of publication ‘beyond the book’, by utilising the potential of the moving image. In this way I will further test the formal representation of aesthetic theory, and also benefit from the direct and accessible distribution channels available through new technologies, already intuitively understood and widely engaged in by the culture at large. It is by these means and through these methods that this research will question what is at stake in aesthetic distance, producing both printed matter and digital video that address the social and political implications of concepts of taste and value, and of judgement itself.