Series of lectures accompanying DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT — VON DEN FREUNDEN HAUS DER KUNST: Chantal Mouffe
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Chantal Mouffe: Critical Artistic Practices as Counter-Hegemonic Interventions
Art occupies an increasingly central place in our societies but can it still play a critical role?
According to Mouffe, it is often argued that with the new capitalism aesthetics has triumphed in all the realms and that the effect of this triumph has been the creation of an hedonistic culture where there is no place any more for art to provide a truly subversive experience. The blurring of the lines between art and advertizing is such that the very idea of critical public spaces has lost its meaning. With the pervasive control of the market, the distinction between public and private has ceased to be pertinent since even the public has become privatized. Every critical gesture is quickly recuperated and neutralized by the forces of corporate capitalism. Chantal Mouffe disagrees with such a perspective and in this lecture she examines how artistic and cultural practices can offer spaces for resistances to undermine the imaginary environment necessary for capitalist reproduction. Mouffe argues that to apprehend their political potential, we should visualize artistic resistances as agonistic interventions within the context of counter-hegemonic struggles.
Chantal Mouffe is professor of Political Theory and director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London. She is the editor of publications including "Dimensions of Radical Democracy. Pluralism, Citizenship, Community" (1992); the co-author with Ernesto Laclau of "Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics" (1985) and other books; and the author of "The Return of the Political" (1993), "The Democratic Paradox" (2000), and "On the Political" (2005).