Militant aesthetics: art activism in the 21st century

Lang, Martin (2024) Militant aesthetics: art activism in the 21st century. Radical Aesthetics-Radical Art . Bloomsbury Academic, London. ISBN 9781350346758

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Militant Aesthetics explores the world of militant art activism in the 21st Century. This book draws on over a decade of research that includes interviews with many of the artists featured in the book, including Etcétera (Argentina), Public Movement (Israel), The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (UK), and Voina (Russia). These artists provide the basis for much of the original material and strongly inform the analyses of the case studies in this book.
Militant Aesthetics introduces the concept of ‘dialectical ethicism’, which synthesizes arguments from analytic philosophy of art, the debate between Theodor Adorno and Jean-Paul Sartre about politically committed art, and Jacques Rancière's notion of the 'double effect'. Martin Lang uses the result to create a unique aesthetic framework for judging art that is both aesthetically autonomous and politically committed and which contains a dialectical tension between these two positions. He argues that militant art is ‘militant’ because it believes in the possibility of radical political change. This type of art goes against the prevailing contemporary micro-politics that seeks to make minor tweaks to improve specific issues, but which does not dare to challenge or even imagine an alternative to neoliberalism. Consequently, militant art is macro-political and targets corporations, institutions (including the police, the UN and the G8), and even national governments. Lang proposes that militant art is ‘aesthetic’ because it makes anaesthetized subjects deeply feel the world again. He reasons that it is this aesthetic aspect, more than the politically committed part within dialectical ethicism, that contains the potential to expose a given target as dysfunctional or absurd. When this happens, militant art demonstrates how the apparently necessary and inevitable order of things is merely contingent and makes what was previously deemed impossible seem attainable.
Militant Aesthetics offers a fresh perspective on the role of art in political activism, making it a must-read for scholars, students, and practitioners of art and politics.

Keywords:Militant Art, art activism, Militancy, Aesthetics, Alain Badiou, avant-garde, Commitment, Theodor W. Adorno, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Ranciere, ethicism
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Divisions:COLLEGE OF ARTS, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES > Lincoln School of Creative Arts > Lincoln School of Creative Arts (Fine Arts)
ID Code:52481
Deposited On:11 Jul 2023 10:30

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