1st Edition

Cultures of Violence Visual Arts and Political Violence

Edited By Ruth Kinna, Gillian Whiteley Copyright 2020
    130 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    130 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Investigating art practitioners’ responses to violence, this book considers how artists have used art practices to rethink concepts of violence and non-violence. It explores the strategies that artists have deployed to expose physical and symbolic violence through representational, performative and interventional means.

    It examines how intellectual and material contexts have affected art interventions and how visual arts can open up critical spaces to explore violence without reinforcement or recuperation. Its premises are that art is not only able to contest prevailing norms about violence but that contemporary artists are consciously engaging with publics through their practice in order to do so. Contributors respond to three questions: how can political violence be understood or interpreted through art? How are publics understood or identified? How are art interventions designed to shift, challenge or respond to public perceptions of political violence and how are they constrained by them? They discuss violence in the everyday and at state level: the Watts’ Rebellion and Occupy, repression in Russia, domination in Hong Kong, the violence of migration and the unfolding art activist logic of the sigma portfolio.

    Asking how public debates can be shaped through the visual and performing arts and setting taboos about violence to one side, the volume provides an innovative approach to a perennial issue of interest to scholars of international politics, art and cultural studies.

    Introduction: Art, culture and violence

    Ruth Kinna and Gillian Whiteley

    Chapter 1: From Watts to Wall Street: A situationist analysis of political violence

    Martin Lang

    Chapter 2: Protest art and public space: Oleg Kulik and the strategies of Moscow Actionism

    Marina Maximova

    Chapter 3: Project sigma: The temporality of activism

    Vlad Morariu and Jaakko Karhunen

    Chapter 4: Challenging state-led political violence with art-activism: Focus on borders

    Amy Corcoran

    Chapter 5: Power v. violence: how can contemporary art create a ‘space of appearance’ and generate social change?

    Jessica Holtaway


    Ruth Kinna works at Loughborough University in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities as a political theorist and historian of ideas.

    Gillian Whiteley is Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Loughborough University and co-organiser of RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt.