Beside engagement: a queer and feminist reading of socially negotiated art through dialogue, love, and praxis
AuthorsSunshine Wong, Yet Chor
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AbstractThis thesis constructs a concept of socially negotiated art as an emergent practice. Displacing a socially engaged art, it uses a methodology of “beside” (Sedgwick, 2003) to explore the affective and corporeal relations that are made, maintained, and transformed as part of the artistic process. The research draws upon queer studies, feminist studies, and affect studies to formulate an embodied criticality that self-reflexively confronts the more difficult dimensions of these art practices. The opening chapter analyses and disrupts a selection of influential concepts that have shaped the understanding of socially “engaged” art. Their “refractions” are interventions on art theories including relational aesthetics (Bourriaud, 2000), participatory art (Bishop, 2012), concatenations of art and revolution (Raunig, 2007), and the continuing avant-garde project (Léger, 2012) through the lens of embodiment. A number of refractions, including counterpublics and disorientation, recur as important anchor points throughout the research. The subsequent three chapters investigate the “relational material” of socially negotiated art. Each one of them breaks down one of its constitutive aspects: dialogue (chapter two), love (chapter three) and praxis (chapter four), which are parameters borrowed from the work of radical educator Paulo Freire. Because of the significant overlap between radical education and socially negotiated art in politics and practice, and because Freire’s pedagogy offers clear demonstrations of situated practice, his writings are used to help centre relations within the context of a socially negotiated art. Ultimately, the three components are unsettled by corporeal and affective proximity: the open inclusivity of dialogue is questioned by intimate, frictive forms like gossip and teasing; the mobilisation of political love multiplies into attachments, body borders, and caring labour; and the transformative urge of praxis is complicated by subjective displacement and situatedness. Together, they present a theoretical articulation of a more peculiar and textured relational material that contributes towards a socially negotiated – rather than engaged – art.
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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