Art and Politics

This course will investigate the link between art and politics; it will ask questions like What is aesthetics in the world today? How is politics aesthetic? How is aesthetics political? Why do people like John Key? etc. We will begin with the final paragraph of Walter Benjamin’s Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction*. The course will be focussed more on discussion than presentation but it will be structured.  No prior knowledge of art or politics is required.

* “Fiat ars – pereat mundus, (make art – destroy the world)” says Fascism, and, as Marinetti admits, expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. This is evidently the consummation of “I’art pour l’art.”  Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. Communism responds by politicizing art”.

The course will be held in Seminar Room C of the Mondrian Building at Elam School of Fine Arts, part of the University of Auckland.  Map

The course begins on Tuesday the 6th of March. It is now occuring on Thursday’s at 3pm.  Any non-Elam students will need to wait at the door of the Mondrian Building to be let in – it is by access card only.

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