The blog for The Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy, based at the University of Leicester, wrote a blog post about Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir’s Exterritory project, and the presentation of four papers at an event co-hosted by Kadist Paris and Evens Foundation. The CPPE’s blog post is here.
Matteo Lucchetti’s ENACTING POPULISM IN ITS MEDIÆSCAPE will open on February 17th, 2012 at Kadist Art Foundation in Paris. (You might note that is exactly one month from today.) The exhibition is curated by Lucchetti following his residency at the Foundation.
The works presented in the show explore media and aesthetic constructions of “the people”. In doing so, Lucchetti draws its theoretical basis from Ernesto Laclau’s work on populism as a constructed antagonism. As the press release notes, “…the visual strategies that take place on a daily basis in the media might not only be seen as completely distorted productions of our times. Instead, they can also be considered as materials that can be easily deconstructed, so as to offer a clearer vision on what democracy looks like today. The process of enacting populism, to make the aesthetic strategies embedded in the creation of a visible consensus, comes together with interferences put at play with the mediascape.”
Laclau’s major work on this topic is his 2005 On Populist Reason. If you don’t have time to read the whole book before mid-February, however, you might be interested in his essay “Populism: What’s In A Name?”, also from 2005.
A key line from the essay: “ The so-called ‘poverty’ of the populist symbols is the condition of their political efficacy – as their function is to bring to equivalential homogeneity a highly heterogeneous reality, they can only do so on the basis of reducing to a minimum their particularistic content.”
Laclau argues that a variety of dissatisfactions, expressing themselves negatively, converge around the empty signifier of “the people”. Different demands are equalized by the sense that the social body, as a whole, is fighting back — even if the only commonality is a sense of dissatisfaction. The gap between these claims of the community’s unified desire and the actual wills of individuals is, as Laclau puts it, “the source of the exhilarating game that we call politic, from which we find our limits but also our possibilities.”
Doing this, Laclau’s analysis puts forward this creation of “the people” as central to politics. This creation is what the artists in Lucchetti’s show explore in their works.
Plus, all of these great artists are in the show:
Alterazioni Video, Heman Chong, Luigi Coppola, Danilo Correale, Foundland,
Nicoline van Harskamp, Steve Lambert, Oliver Ressler, Anna Scalfi Eghenter, Société Réaliste, Jonas Staal, Superflex