Questioning Aesthetics Symposium: When is Art Political?

Questioning Aesthetics Symposium: When is Art Political?

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Courtesy of CalArts.
October 30, 2015
Questioning Aesthetics Symposium: When is Art Political?

November 6–7, 2015

631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

West Hollywood Public Library
625 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

To ask “When is art political?” is to ask what conditions of artistic production and reception make it possible for art to be political. As conditions change, “political art” may no longer be political, “non-political” art may become political, and so on. Through short, lively presentations and discussions with the audience, this two-day conference establishes a shift in approach by leaving the quest for an essence of political art aside in order to inquire instead into the ever-changing conditions that make art political.

This two-day conference is hosted by the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts. The conference is supported by the MA Aesthetics and Politics program, and is made possible with additional support from the Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation and the Equity and Diversity Program at CalArts.



Friday, November 6
(Tickets required)

Introductions, Arne De Boever and Michael Kelly

Leandro Katz, “‘Please, No Slogans’”
Bérénice Reynaud, “The Polis Behind the Image”
Moderator: Beatriz Cortez

Edwin Hill, “Hatin’ on Charlie: The politics of the punchline against Charlie Hebdo in French rap in the wake of the January 2015 attacks”
Gil Hochberg, “Nothing To Look At: On the art of witnessing”
Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Beauty and Failure”
Moderator: Armen Avanessian

Introduction, Arne De Boever
Lecture, Thierry de Duve, “Art as Symbol of the Politically Good”
Conversation with Martin Plot

Saturday, November 7
West Hollywood Public Library
(Free and open to the public)

Introductions, Arne De Boever and Michael Kelly

Jill Bennett, “The Politics of Mental Experience: Neurodiverse Aesthetics”
Davide Panagia, “On the Unusability of Art for Politics”
Moderator: Sidsel Meineche-Hansen

Roundtable conversation with all participants
Moderators: Arne De Boever and Michael Kelly

The MA Aesthetics and Politics offers a one-year degree that encourages interrogations of the arts and politics in an expanded field. Students specialize in Critical Theory, Global Studies, or Media and Urban Studies, and get up close and personal with key contemporary artists and thinkers, including this year’s visiting faculty member Armen Avanessian and theorist-in-residence Thierry de Duve.

We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2016. Financial aid packages are available in the form of scholarships, grants, and teaching assistantships.

For general questions, or to schedule an information session, please contact Admissions Counselor Seth Blake at [email protected] or T +1 661 253 7716.

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California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
October 30, 2015

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