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Aesthetics of Tension: Becoming Anarchist

November 15, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Saunders 624

ALLAN ANTLIFF holds the Canada Research Chair in Art History at the University of Victoria, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on modern and contemporary art. Publications include Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics and the First American Avant-Garde (2001) and Art and Anarchy: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wall (2007).

If, as Alejandro de Acosta argues, “becoming anarchist has to be something on the order of a seduction, a passionate attraction, the feeling of anarchy’s lure,” then aesthetics are integral to anarchism’s politics and art is an important site of enactment. I am examining the aesthetics of tension within contemporary anarchist art production. This aesthetic involves self-actualization and transformational modalities at the same time as it seeks to intensify ruptures that are generative, unleashing imaginative freedoms that find their grounding in the artwork’s relational power and communicative efficacy. Arising from an ontological positioning that is self-constituted, dynamic, and critical of authoritative origins, this tension aspires to extend the freedom it embodies into the world as a social force. Most importantly, it contributes to anarchism’s allure, its means of building affinities that draw others toward identifying with the movement's social vision.

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Political Science, Mānoa Campus

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Kathy Ferguson, 808-956-8357,,

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