Autonomy of artistic practices in the Anthropocene: political and ecological perspectives

Athena 14:221-233 (2019)
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In this article, it is claimed that by considering Rancière’s understanding of politics of aesthetics alongside Stengers’ conception of the ecology of practices, it is possible to think about the autonomy of artistic practices which would be created and sustained politically. Rancière demonstrates that the artistic autonomy was previously subordinated to a variety of historical imperatives, while Stengers warns about an apolitical mission of the great narrative of the Anthropocene. Both philosophers make a case for talking about the autonomy of artistic practices based on political differing, but in Stengers’ philosophy, the political principle of dissensus is supported by an ecological perspective. She argues for a symbiotic consensus, where the political is defined as being both contradictory and attuned to the situational interconnectedness. In the destructive environment of the Anthropocene, Stengers challenges the tradition of critical reflexivity and proposes a way out – the autonomy of practices that is not universally given but needs to be constantly recomposed together.

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