The art of democracy: constitutive power and the limits of dissensus
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Ryan, K. (2014) 'The Art of Democracy: Constitutive Power and the Limits of Dissensus'. Journal Of Political Power, 7 (3):363-381.
This article engages critically with the normative framing of socially engaged/collaborative art as a consensual/dissensual dichotomy, whereby consensualpractices are equated with political abdication. This way of framing such practicesgives rise to three significant problems: one concerns the passive positioningof viewers/participants relative to the authorial autonomy of the artwork;the second concerns an inadequate understanding of power; and the third is anapparent inability to think consensus and dissensus together as features of thesame arena of practice. The article argues for a more open approach to studyingthe relationship between politics and aesthetics, thereby avoiding the trap ofusing artistic practices as illustrative cases in support of conclusions that havebeen reached before the analysis has even commenced.