role of art in politics

(87) Charles Weber and Johan Galtung (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 188. Cynthia Young, vol. Claudia Mesch, Art and Politics: A Small History of Art for Social Change since 1945 (London and New York: I. After all, the experience of watching an image cannot be decoupled from language; all media are mixed media. The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University runs a Program in Peace Building and the Arts, focusing on the contributions of arts and culture to peace. (162) The very basic concept of politics involves the norms of “social relationship and power”… This form of knowledge production requires reflection on the relationship between words and images in general. This vagueness, however, also implies that any image could trigger Amado’s rebellion. Martin Lister, Introduction to The Photographic Image in Digital Culture, 2nd ed., ed. In the 1980s and 1990s, some members of Congress sought to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts after complaints by religious conservative organizations about some NEA-funded projects the groups deemed offensive. (28) Mirzoeff, Watching Babylon, 117–171. As such, the photographic act “cannot but be violating.”122 The photographic act is said to violate not only those who are not depicted, by discriminating against them, but also those who are. For example, there is a substantial body of work in international relations and security studies on art’s operation in violent conditions, offering political interpretations of art (and culture) in the context of violence, terrorism, and war.50 However, reflecting international relations’ focus on large-scale violence and interstate war and the discipline’s comparatively shallow conceptualizations of peace,51 there is less interest in art’s operation under conditions of peace, peaceful adjustment, and nonviolent change (see “Politics, Art, and Peace,” below).52, Surely it would be futile to look for the method of work on politics and art in a research area characterized by creative eclecticism. (46) After all, as Chinua Achebe notes, “a visitor can sometimes see what the owner of the house has ignored.”116 Thus, differentiation is required. Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Penguin, 1991), 134. (6) Poststructuralism and feminism have shown interest in art and visual representation since the 1980s.39 These approaches identified gaps and omissions in international relations theory; challenged the established, predominantly male culture of political analysis; and helped establish the use, in political science, of methods and approaches borrowed from other disciplines, such as philosophy,40 sociology,41 anthropology,42 and visual studies.43 Methodologically, work on politics and art unashamedly borrows from, for example, art history and theory,44 media and communication studies,45 film studies,46 semiotics,47 and discourse analysis,48 while “collaborative work with artists and practitioners” is still the exception.49 Thus the body of work on politics and art in political science is different from such work in other disciplines, not necessarily in that it is based on methodological approaches specifically tailored to the analysis of politics and art, but rather in that the explanandum is derived from political science and often linked to questions of power, violence, war, interests, and—increasingly—identities. (94) According to Platon’s approach of excellent state, which indicates the potential between art and politics, art is not competent in politics, and makes us deviant by dominating our feelings (Kreft, 2009), because Platon thinks that art is a reality world which can be perceived by mind, not through senses (Moran, 2004). Revealing the “thing itself” is neither respectful nor helpful nor protective of those depicted. A possible response, for example, is acknowledgment of “the relationship between oneself and the depicted other including, arguably, acknowledg[ing] the other’s not-so-otherness without, however, conflating one’s own perception of the depiction of an other’s pain with the other’s physical and mental experience of pain.”109. (169) Indeed, there can be observed a “blurring of genre boundaries,”5 which makes insistence on established typologies seem anachronistic. They were simply called from the field, the house, the workshop, or the slave quarters, taken into town, and led up the stairs of an unfamiliar building and into rooms with a powerful, dense odor that no perfume could hide…. Otherwise, we would not need art. Arts patronage increased during the Renaissance, as politically powerful families, such as the Medici in Florence, Italy, supported prominent painters, sculptors and musicians. Lisle, “Surprising Detritus of Leisure,” 879. Art photography’s interpretive openness and its insistence on various connotations that images carry with them appear inappropriate when it comes to representations of people in pain (and a substantial portion of the recent work on politics and art focuses on such representations). Art may include a utopian element. Michael J. Shapiro, Cinematic Geopolitics (London and New York: Routledge, 2009). Popular music, for example, provided a virtual soundtrack for the political and social unrest of the 1960s and 1970s, such as the protests against the Vietnam War. It may visualize the replacement of experiences of violent change with expectations of peaceful change while simultaneously acknowledging that this is not a linear process, but rather one characterized by ups and downs, progression and regression. Achebe, in the same interview, explains that visitors “must visit with respect and not be concerned with the color of skin, or the shape of nose, or the condition of the technology in the house.” Molly Rogers’s analysis of the practice of US American race theorists, who in the mid-nineteenth century had photographs (daguerreotypes) taken of selected slaves shows that the photographic act can indeed be an act of violation: [T]he experience of being daguerreotyped was unlike any other they [the subjects depicted] had known. . Susan D. Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, and Death (New York and London: Routledge, 1999). Martha Rosler adds, “Documentary testifies, finally, to the bravery or (dare we name it?) Nor is it protective of the beholder: “in order to recover our (critical) composure and equilibrium” and “to try to protect the human being we are looking at” (p. 160), we have, in this instance, to look away—only, crucially, to return to the image later “as a critical assimilation of the perceived suffering” (p. 163). MacDougall, Transcultural Cinema, 246. Artivism is not limited to artists. The submission was a test probing the boundaries of the very definition of art. Sontag notes that “people remember through photographs.” She also notes that this is a “problem” because “they remember only the photographs,”200 and James Elkins adds that “photographs of people I know and love are actually a poison to memory, because they remain strong while my memories weaken.”201 Photographs as two-dimensional representations, which are never identical with that which they claim to represent, tend to replace what Primo Levi called “the raw memory” and to grow “at its expense.”202 The idea of raw memory, fixed and unchangeable, is also problematic, as memory tends to evolve, adapted to the requirements of the present. David MacDougall, Transcultural Cinema, ed. (101) These artists do not follow the simple belief in the power of the visible to trigger political responses among viewers, but acknowledge that “[f]aced with something obscure … it is radically insufficient merely to shine the light of publicity.”149 It is therefore not sufficient for artists to make technological developments and infrastructures pertaining to warfare visible (just as it is insufficient for political analysis to focus on technological developments). What is required is a certain type of visibility linked to and derived from the invisibility of the represented. (148) Oliver P. Richmond, Peace in International Relations (London and New York: Routledge, 2008). Such a wide understanding of peace photography (reflecting a narrow, negative understanding of peace) would be misleading. (12) Ernst van Alphen, Art in Mind: How Contemporary Images Shape Thought (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005). (141) It is more common to suggest that it is the photographer who operates in a safe zone offered by the camera which protects him or her from the surrounding environment. There are questions like: Who is editing this material? The violations inherent in the photographic act seem acceptable furthermore on condition that the “photographer ‘looks at’ in order to look beyond, look elsewhere, look awry, so that the beholder in ‘looking away,’ after looking at, also looks awry, as the active producer of secondary ostension” (p. 155).142 Representational intolerance is, however, in itself intolerable as a general rule for photographic representations of violence. Möller, “Looking/Not Looking Dilemma,” Review of International Studies 35, no. School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere. . 4 (2010): 513. The absence of more experimental approaches to images in academic writings reflects not only academic conventions but also profound difficulties in connection with nonverbal approaches to the visual. (56) Steve Smith, “Singing Our World into Existence: International Relations Theory and September 11,” International Studies Quarterly 48, No. Rites of passage. We saw ourselves just shine.118. Art and the individual. However, concepts such as art are not fixed; they evolve by people “doing” them, either reaffirming or modifying them.194 Furthermore, such image-makers are political agents; their activities cannot be excluded from political analysis. Aleš Erjavec, ed., Aesthetic Revolutions and Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Movements (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015). (90) Regarding such photographs may seem to be looking at photographs of peace (at least in comparison to what came later). The truth of the victim is what matters, and it is the photographer’s task to make this truth visible even if the visualization violates the victim’s dignity. One path toward a narrow concept of peace photography is a wider understanding of peace; the more ambitious the understanding of peace is, the fewer pictures qualify as peace photographs. Danchev, On Art and War and Terror, 4. Episodic writing emphasizes that “[w]hat happened in Scene A might not be causally related to Scenes B and C, but their placement either in space or time asks us to think them together.”181 Photographs ask us to think them together with that which they reference even if no causal relationship can be proven to exist. See, for example, Pieter Hugo, Permanent Error (Munich, London, New York: Prestel, 2011); Sebastião Salgado, Africa (Cologne: Taschen, 2010); Hugo and Melvern, Rwanda 2004. Or, elsewhere: “[A]t some point in the interest of truth the preservation of the integrity of the ‘victim’ has itself to be violated” (p. 149). It is for this reason that some authors, while acknowledging that photography is violent, insist that this violence is not only inevitable but necessary. (81) (34) Representation is here perceived as turning violence—events, victims, consequences—into something that can be perceived as “art,” which is different than documentation, journalism, or critical writing. Painted in the 1930s, “Guernica” highlights the inhumanity of the Spanish Civil War, which brought dictator Francisco Franco to power in Spain. Terror and the Arts: Artistic, Literary, and Political Interpretations of Violence from Dostoyevsky to Abu Ghraib (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); Danchev, On Art and War and Terror; Stephen F. Eisenman, The Abu Ghraib Effect (London: Reaktion Book, 2007); Shapiro, Cinematic Geopolitics; Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? If an individual’s response to conditions of human suffering depicted in images is adequate only on condition that it alleviates the suffering depicted, then there is in most cases no such thing as an adequate response. However—and this complicates the notion of violence—as was observed at that time by Pearl Cleage Polk when she was photographed: He would take our pictures and let us see that those who said we were invisible were lying. Photographic image production cannot be limited to quantitative considerations, but has to include qualitative assessments as well.95, It is also argued that (seemingly identical) images of victims “can produce a generalized and standardized visual account that anonymizes victims and depoliticizes conflict.”96 Images of victims, rather than increasing critical awareness, which can then be transformed into politics—the hope underlying concerned and social documentary work in the visual arts—are said to paralyze viewers and make them politically inactive. My focus in this contribution is on the visual arts, very broadly understood, including photojournalistic image production. Exclusive focus on images, while an established practice in artists’ monographs, cannot normally be found in academic writings in the social sciences characterized by emphasis on the written word; images, if used at all, often serve the purpose of illustration of what has already been established by means of text. Artist Mark Vallen contends all art is political. Bleiker, Aesthetics and World Politics; Cerwyn Moore and Laura J. Shepherd, “Aesthetics and International Relations: Towards a Global Politics,” Global Society 24, no. Such multidisciplinarity can even be based on incompatible approaches. You could not be signed in, please check and try again. Given the absence of a universal understanding of, and the impossibility of a neutral, unpolitical approach to, peace, any conceptual approach to peace photography reflects the culture within which it is being developed and can claim validity only within this culture. For example, “hypervisibility”—“constant simulation”—is said to infringe upon the ability to be critical about the image: “[W]e can’t manage and digest it, and are thus manipulated by it.”94 In the photographic discourse, there can be observed a huge degree of mistrust of human beings’ ability to decide what images to study and regard seriously (just a few) and what images to ignore or to glance at in passing, if at all (the vast majority of images produced at any point in time). Mary Duffy (born 1961) was one of the key figures in the development of Disability Arts in the UK. The visual arts, the Church argued, played a key role in guiding the faithful. In all of our generalities. Mimetic approaches, abstracting from individual researchers’ inevitable acts of interpretation, are based on the myth of the neutral, value-free, disinterested observer who, by rigorously applying social science methods, can objectively reveal the facts of “the world out there” (Wendt) and, equipped with such knowledge, help solve the problems of the world. Campany, “What on Earth?,” 51. In addition, some prominent performing artists, such as U2 vocalist Bono, have successfully used their celebrity to call world leaders’ attention to such issues as global poverty and AIDS in Africa.

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