Performance Action: The Politics of Art Activism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Performance Action

The Politics of Art Activism, 1st Edition

By Paula Serafini

Routledge

196 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138740310
pub: 2018-03-27
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pub: 2018-03-20
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Description

Performance Action looks to advance the understanding of how art activism works in practice, by unpacking the relationship between the processes and politics that lie at its heart. Focusing on the UK but situating its analysis in a global context of art activism, the book presents a range of different cases of performance-based art activism, including the anti-oil sponsorship performances of groups like Shell Out Sounds and BP or not BP?, the radical pedagogy project Shake!, the psychogeographic practice of Loiterers Resistance Movement, and the queer performances of the artist network Left Front Art. Based on participatory, ethnographic research, Performance Action brings together a wealth of first-hand accounts and interviews followed by in-depth analysis of the processes and politics of art activist practice. The book is unique in that it adopts an interdisciplinary approach that borrows concepts and theories from the fields of art history, aesthetics, anthropology, sociology and performance studies, and proposes a new framework for a better understanding of how art activism works, focusing on processes. The book argues that art activism is defined by its dual nature as aesthetic-political practice, and that this duality and the way it is manifested in different processes, from the building of a shared collective identity to the politics of participation, is key towards fully understanding what sets apart art activism from other forms of artistic and political practice. The book is aimed at both specialist and non-specialist audiences, offering an accessible and engaging way into new theoretical contributions in the field of art activism, as well as on wider subjects such as participation, collective identity, prefiguration and institutional critique.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Acknowledgements

Introduction

1. ‘Harmonic Disobedience’: Constructing a Collective Identity in an Activist Choir

2. A Viking Longship: Participation in Performance Action

3. From Transgression to Prefiguration: Performance Action as a Blueprint for Social Change

4. Breaking Barriers: Bodies, Institutions, and Codes

5. Loitering in the City: Psychogeography as Art Activism

6. New Narratives: Rethinking Activism through Art in the Youth Project ‘Voices that Shake!’

7. Breaking the Mould: Art Activism and Art Institutions

8. Towards a Theory of Art Activism

Afterword

Index

About the Author

Paula Serafini is a cultural politics scholar, practitioner and organiser. Her work is concerned with the relationship between aesthetics and politics, and with artistic and media interventions in art institutions, labour struggles, and environmental and social justice movements. She is currently a Research Associate at CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, University of Leicester, and holds a PhD in Social and Cultural Analysis (King’s College London), an MA in Anthropology & Cultural Politics (Goldsmiths College) and a BA in Art History and Cultural Management (Universidad del Salvador, Argentina). Her previous publications include journal articles in Third Text and Anarchist Studies, and the edited collection artWORK: Art, Labour and Activism, co-edited with Alberto Cossu and Jessica Holtaway (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2017).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Political Sociology

This series presents the latest research in political sociology. It welcomes both theoretical and empirical studies that pay close attention to the dynamics of power, popular protest and social movements, as well as work that engages in debates surrounding globalisation, democracy and political economy.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC000000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General

Interview with New Books Network

New books Network Dave O'Brien interviews author Paula Serafini on her new book Performance Action: The Politics of Art Activism.

Find out more about the interview here.