Aesthetics and politics, culture and barbarism: the relations between these have concerned revolutionary and critical thinkers and practitioners. This talk considers the politics of art and the art of politics in artworks and iconography produced by contemporary artists, who explode the past in the present and release muted materials from the archives. ‘A bundle of silences’ that emanates from the history of the vanquished is made audible, loud booms reverberating across a time whose chronology is rendered irrelevant through the subversive attitude.
Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London. Her interests lie in the poetics of science and the politics of technologies. Current work focuses on turbid media and the aesthetics of turbulence. Her books include various studies and translations of Walter Benjamin, as well as Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant Garde (2002); Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (2005); Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage (2014) and Liquid Crystals: The Science and Art of a Fluid Form (2016). Recent work on the biopolitical economy of dairy, with Melanie Jackson, includes the publications Deeper in the Pyramid (with Melanie Jackson) (2018/2023). and The Inextinguishable for the Limerick Biennale, 2020. A book on anti-fascist radio pioneer Ernst Schoen (written with Sam Dolbear) is out in July with Goldsmiths Press, and a study of ICI and its impact in Teesside is soon to be published in Palgrave Pivots series.
Moderated by Ivana Hanaček
The lecture was organized in collaboration with the portal Slobodni Filozofski.