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Artmaking in the Age of Global CapitalismVisual Practices, Philosophy, Politics$
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Jan Bryant

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474456944

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456944.001.0001

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Political-Aesthetics and Contemporary Artists: Introduction

Political-Aesthetics and Contemporary Artists: Introduction

Chapter:
(p.71) Political-Aesthetics and Contemporary Artists: Introduction
Source:
Artmaking in the Age of Global Capitalism
Author(s):

Jan Bryant

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456944.003.0016

As introduction to the four essays on contemporary practice, this chapter opens with some examples of political despondency at the turn of the century. Two films from the 1960s, Soy Cuba and Winter Soldier, are closely examined as a way to understand the hopefulness for a renewed future that must have inspired their making. From a contemporary perspective, hope has faded with the unfolding of history and the intensification of class inequality. While this seems to support an ‘end of history’ thesis, it is the point where Andrew Benjamin’s structuring of hope in the present becomes a potent retort. The chapter concludes with a consideration of how political-aesthetics is informed this century by a renewed interest in materials and their effects, while also considering the materialist approaches of Marx, Walter Benjamin, and Elizabeth Grosz. A materialist approach means that focus on the sensate realm determines that a portion of any interpretation of artwork will include a subjective dimension. [154]

Keywords:   Soy Cuba, Winter Soldier, Marx, Walter Benjamin, Andrew Benjamin, materialism, Deleuze, Elizabeth Grosz

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