Incipiendum, Ad Infinitum: Considerations for an Ethicopolitical Framework and the Potential for Art As Its Expression
Parker, Lana Mary
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In this work, I delineate the foundations for an ethical politics toward societal transformation, paying particular attention to how the process can be expressed using the arts. I do not advocate for a particular hegemony, but, in the course of explicating the framework, will describe certain epistemological or ontological tenets that are necessary in order for the process to unfold. I begin with an outline of what I mean by an ethical politics, turning to Levinas, Rancière, and Arendt to lay the groundwork for the importance of the other, and to establish the significance of beginning, of moving toward what always lies beyond the horizon. From there, I build an argument that the arts can offer a unique and important means of realising the ethicopolitical process, since they can function as both an other and an interruption. Because not all art can be considered an other or an interruption, I distinguish between art as interruptive, or art for the political, and art that that conforms or extends the values and principles of the state. Upon preparing the rudiments of the ethicopolitical framework and clarifying which types of art may be utilised in the process, I trace how art, through the sub-processes of inspiration and realisation, can represent the ethicopolitical steps of listening and speaking. I also address why I believe art is a unique expression of the ethicopolitical process, because of its inherent appeal to affect. I elaborate the framework using a case study of the Chinese artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei. In conclusion, I suggest that in order to preserve and nurture the promise of arts as an interruption toward sociopolitical transformation, a particular kind of pedagogy is required.