Accepted Paper:

Imagining Institutions Otherwise: Art, Politics, and State Failure  

Author:

Chiara De Cesari (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I present a research proposal to study the role of artistic practices in reimagining failed or failing polities and to examine the connection between the social turn in art and dissolving social infrastructures.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I present a research proposal to study the role of artistic practices in reimagining failed or failing polities and to examine the connection between the social turn in art and dissolving social infrastructures. To achieve this goal, I propose to look at contexts dominated by protest movements against state repression, corruption, or neoliberal restructuring in Lebanon, Palestine, Hungary, Italy, and the Syrian diaspora. The central research objective is to understand how art can reimagine institutions in the context of state failure, and how it can affect the political imagination, institutional change, and citizenship. I focus on what I call anticipatory representation: the proliferation of micro-utopias or creative institutional experiments that instantiate "counter-states," which both critique the state and engage its apparatuses in various ways, potentially prefiguring new forms of common life. I take an innovative, comparative, and intersectional ethnographic app roach to the intersections between art, formal politics, and policy, as well as between increasingly transnationalized art worlds. This research extends the anthropology of art by connecting it to theories of governmentality and the state under neoliberal cultural capitalism.

Panel P065
The state of the art: the anthropology of art and the anthropology of the state