ECPR General Conference

Endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and the Arts
  • Date Aug 22, 2018 to Aug 25, 2018 (Europe/Helsinki / UTC300)
  • Location Universität Hamburg, Hampurg
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Abstract: Contemporary art has been addressing human rights, ethnicity and indigenousness in somewhat spectacular ways, engaging larger publics, always raising the political stakes and the public salience of its action. The artwork is now a medium for people to gather knowledge and insight into politics, and earlier artistic experiments in social critique (from Guernica, to the situationist pranks of the 1950s, to Beuys’s 7000 Oaks project) have developed into diffused, large-scale performances in which sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, and film serve a political purpose. Contemporary art is becoming a critical tool in processes of critique, contestation, and negotiation over memories, beliefs and routines. Memories crystallize in sites, symbols, narratives, and “heritage communities” (this definition is from the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society), and resist attempts to gain perspective and release new discourses. Artworks have challenged this rearguard, their liberating effects is obvious, and their force is reflected in the new status that Museums have gained in our social landscapes. Artists like Ai Weiwei make political statements through simple actions and performances, and these actions resonate on a global scale, affecting our perception of human rights in situations like the current refugee crisis.