Contemporary Arts Across Political Divides: Difficult Conversations

Tijen Tunali Announcement
Subject Fields
Art, Art History & Visual Studies


September 24,  9am-10am EST

Contemporary Arts Across Political Divides: Difficult Conversations

This book explores what art and artists can do to create democratic spaces, forms, and languages in a world devastated by multiple crises. It uses case studies from Australia, India, Mexico, the USA, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, the Balkans, Russia, Italy, and Ukraine to discuss the possibility or impossibility of building avenues for participation, equitable interaction, and self-organization, as well as the common creation of the imaginary and a culture of dialogue. These examples share a common thread of interest in fostering participation, agonism, and the potential for "possibilizing—the concept of fostering equitable interactions that facilitate the creation of complex imaginaries and the envisagement of agonistic coexistence through artistic processes, dissemination, and observation. Contributors to this volume encompass different roles in the art world, including museum professionals, art historians, and practitioners of collaborative art. Their collective objective revolves around outlining strategies for engaging with art within regions marked by pronounced political divisions. Timely inquiries are posed concerning the capacity of art to orchestrate challenging conversations, establish connections, and devise methodologies conducive to urgent political retorts. Can contemporary art effectively transcend political schisms and progress toward fostering democratic social interaction, openness, and contingency? How might artists contribute to the comprehension of agonistic encounters within urban public spaces? Amidst the escalating influence of regressive forces such as nationalism, racism, and misogyny worldwide, can artworks reciprocate and counterbalance these trends?  This collective book tries to answer these questions and delves into the potential for artists and artistic communities to recontextualize their work through difficult conversations, thereby establishing platforms wherein an agonistic aesthetic can flourish and contribute to democratic discourse.

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Tijen Tunali

Andrew Mellon Fellow

Columbia University

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