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Call for Papers before 15.2.: The Aesthetics of Social Equality: Avant-Garde, Populisms and the People in Moscow May 10–11, 2018

This symposium explores the social and historical interweaving of art and avant-garde aesthetics with universal demands for equality and the right of the “people”: the underclass, the underprivileged and the oppressed. 

Seminar: The Aesthetics of Social Equality: Avant-Garde, Populisms and the People.

Please submit you abstracts at artandthepeople2018 (a) gmail.com by February 15, 2018.

Notifications date: February 25, 2018
Conference date:May 10-11, 2018

Keynote Speakers:
Sarah Wilson, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, Yannis Stavrakakis, Professor of Political Theory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Drawing on the technocratic rise of a current liberal anti-populist discourse in Europe and the USA that unilaterally discards appeals to the people as dangerous and irresponsible, whether coming from the left or from the right, this event explores the implications of artistic experiments that place discourses about emancipation, race and gender equality, the abolition of labour exploitation at center stage, while also advancing a contentious politics or dichotomous representations of social affairs. In the Western tradition of aesthetics, and especially in the writings of Clement Greenberg and Theodor Adorno, one can trace a certain disdain for artistic practices whose motives become too obvious, too moralistic or just too ‘easy’. Such practices seem to downgrade civil responsibility rather than enable it. The figure of the ‘philistine’, in Adorno’s work for instance, the uncivilized ‘other’ whose judgement relies on instinct rather than reflection, can be seen, according to this tradition, as the exact audience that populist art addresses. The current anti-populist discourse emerging in Europe and the world, which morally condemns the people as irrational and uneducated, often draws on such assumptions.

Rather than seeing populism as an evil category strictly separated from its ‘other’, this event will ask under which conditions populisms, and the rhetoric of intolerance and immediacy they harbour, can be thought as egalitarian and socially transformative practices.

Looking for papers addressing the following themes:
Socialist Art
Art and social engagement
Populism(s) in contemporary art
Populist culture
Art and precarity
Art and ethnography
The artist as producer
The artist as community worker
The role of the art object in radical aesthetics and transformative politics

Abstracts should be in English or Russian and no longer than 500 words. They should include a name, institutional affiliations, a short CV and contact details.

This conference is organized by the Department of Media and the Department of History of Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Angelina Lucento, Assistant Professor, Department of History, HSE
Panos Kompatsiaris, Assistant Professor, Department of Media, HSE

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