Gabriel Rockhill: Critical Reflections on the Ontological Illusion: Rethinking the Relation between Art and Politics
Critical Reflections on the Ontological Illusion: Rethinking the Relation between Art and Politics
(p. 311 – 323)

Gabriel Rockhill

Critical Reflections on the Ontological Illusion: Rethinking the Relation between Art and Politics

PDF, 13 pages

Criticizing seemingly hermeneutical assumptions, Rockhill outs the talisman complex, according to which the politics of art amounts to a political force inherent in works of art that is supposedly capable of producing political consequences through a nebulous, preternatural alchemy. He reveals the myth of a naturally pre-determined distinction between the episteme of art and that of politics, criticizing the conviction of so many critics that the analysis of any politics of arts will inscribe an immediately political potential, or any direct political competence, into the artistic objects themselves. Emphasizing the irrationality of such direct applications, Rockhill presents an argument for considering pieces of art as social objects in the sense of being polyvalent phenomena with a multiplicity of dimensions, nodal points in a complex of social relations that are irreducible to a single or definitive relationship. He sketches and supports a radical and inescapably resistant historicism as a methodological alternative, going far beyond the established descriptions of circumstances of societal structures, productive procedures, and contemporary habits of reception. Rather than paying lip service to such circumstances, the pieces of art themselves are to be considered as purely and thoroughly social phenomena, necessitating an equally radical sociologism that can be immediately read as resistance, instead of precariously maintaining an assumed resistant impulse from the aesthetic talisman.

  • activisme
  • art contemporain
  • politique
  • résistance

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Anneka Esch-van Kan (éd.), Stephan Packard (éd.), ...: Thinking – Resisting – Reading the Political

This volume contrasts a number of recently suggested concepts of the political – each of which connects to certain instances of art and literature in its discourse – with questions concerning the rigidity of those connections: How strongly do such claims to politics depend on their specific examples, what is the scope of their validity to understand art with regard to politics, and how can they help us grasp the political within other pieces of art? In each case, manners of thinking concepts of the political, the mutual resistance of such concepts and their academic treatment, and the turn towards specific readings informed by those concepts converge.

The essays collected in “Thinking Resistances. Current Perspectives on Politics, Community, and Art“ engage with political phenomena in their interrelations with arts as well as with recent theoretical and philosophical perspectives on the very meaning of politics, the political, and community.

With contributions by Armen Avanessian, Friedrich Balke, Judith Butler, Simon Critchley, Anneka Esch-van Kan, Josef Früchtl, Andreas Hetzel, Jon McKenzie, Dieter Mersch, Chantal Mouffe, Maria Muhle, Nikolaus Müller-Schöll, Stephan Packard, Wim Peeters, Jacques Rancière, Juliane Rebentisch, Gabriel Rockhill, Frank Ruda and Philipp Schulte.