ToTouch ToMeasure – 2015 / ongoing

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Memory Politics and Public Space: The Influence of Borders, Museums and the Media

This ongoing project addresses the role that aesthetics plays in shaping collective memory, cultural ideologies, power structures, and social relations in the context of current global conflict. Our experience of border walls, separation barriers and security fences, the influence of ruins, monuments, museum display and media representations as a form of communication is the central focus. The project questions how memory, history and place are selected, regulated, represented and experienced through mediated means.

The methodological framework combines theoretically analysis and research creation as a process of revealing truth(s). Truth, or truth(s), is not one of judgment or a single quantifiable idea but something more abstract, more fundamental. “Philosophy does not produce any effective truths; it seizes truths; shows them; exposes them, and announces they exist” (Badiou, 2005, p 14). For Hegel the art that is worthy of consideration, in relationship to its ability to reveal authentic truths of the human spirit, is art that results from the free translation of ideas through one’s consciousness. The question of freedom relates to predetermined or commissioned truths such as in religious art, state and corporate propaganda where art’s sensuous qualities are employed to serve a dominant ideology and therefore are used as a means of deception. “The beauty of art presents itself to sense, to feeling, to perception, to imagination; its sphere is not that of thought, and the apprehension of its activity and its productions demand another organ than that of the scientific intelligence” (Hegel, 1886/1993, p 7). This acknowledgment of art and the potential of extra-linguistic communication applied in tandem with theory have the potential to yield new forms of knowledge and understanding. Deutsche (2008) describes such work as the result of subject and object, theory and practice merging into action.

Badiou, Alain. Handbook of Inaesthetics. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.

Deutsche, Rosalyn & Thomas Hirschhorn. The Artist as Public Intellectual. Schlebragge, 2012.

Hegel, G. Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics. Trans. Bernard Bosanquet. Penguin, 1886/1993.