torika bolatagici

Art and War

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2007 at 9:48 am

Professor Thierry Dufrêne, University of Paris X-Nanterre.
Assoc. Prof. Nigel Lendon, School of Art, Australian National University

How can works of art convey an artist’s experience and interpretation of the politics of war and social conflict? Art has characteristically produced representations of the ‘demonic other’, enemies, prisoners, foreigners, as well as reflections of the consequences of conflict on ordinary citizens. Conflict (whether actual or threatened) produces a ‘culture of war’ in which official art has both an internal agenda (to strengthen one’s own national image) and an external one (to threaten and to represent the enemy negatively). Oppositional art, pacifist art, or utopian art is excluded from such nationalistic discourses.

For most people the primary experience of war is mediated, and such ‘media wars’ are often markedly different from the ‘real’ wars. To what extent are such aspects of modern warfare (re) produced as works of art? In what contexts do such works of art circulate, and to what extent does this art impact on the social and political circumstances, which affirm or oppose the conditions which produce war? Images of war and conflict have always proved politically and morally contentious, but since 9/11, the way in which these images are articulated, mediated and consumed has been the subject of ever-greater scrutiny. Periodically, “urban warfare” erupts on the streets of even the most sedate metropolis as internal social conflicts are fought out, producing their own oppositional modes of visual discourse.

Besides art history, a wide range of disciplines such as history, cultural studies, historiography, political studies, religious studies, sociology, economics, diplomacy, anthropology and museum studies may be invoked to illuminate such issues. The assembled papers will provide comprehensive and challenging insights into the aesthetic, political, and cultural use of an inclusive concept of art, including photography, film, television and new media, exploring issues of patriotism, propaganda, manipulation, subversion, opposition, resistance, appropriation and survival.


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