Abstract The category of ‘bare life’ is used to refer to subjects who are denied both political and legal representation. For Giorgio Agamben, the subject who most immediately exemplifies the plight of ‘bare life’ is the stateless refugee. However, this can be extended, the author would suggest, to include political prisoners, the disappeared, victims of torture, and the dispossessed – all of whom are excluded, to different degrees, from the fraternity of the social sphere, appeal to the safety net of the nation‐state and recourse to international law. The concept of ‘bare life’ also provides a significant way of reflecting on contemporary art practices that take migration, statelessness, diasporic communities, human rights, and zones of conflict as their subject matter; nowhere more so that when they represent the ‘zones of indistinction’ to which ‘bare life’ is consigned.
Abstract ‘Flat Time’ proposes a radical and unique cosmic model with major conceptual implications for the ways in which we view our universe and ourselves. Uniquely it proposes a model that includes both the observer and the observed in a manner which may overcome ‘the measurement problem’ for the first time. Surprisingly Flat Time has not come from scientists but from artists, yet is taken very seriously by the Physics Department of Imperial College. It proposes a radical reorientation of our whole approach to data, the cosmos and our own conscious experience. From starting points in theoretical physics, and originally called ‘Event Structure’, Flat Time was developed over 40 years by the late John Latham with the close collaboration of his fellow artist Ian Macdonald‐Munro. If you are interested in New Paradigms, Cosmic Models, Quantum Gravity and the problem of understanding consciousness in terms of physics, you really need to read this.
Abstract Attempts to rethink the sublime after 1945 have increasingly relied on the psychoanalytic category of trauma and with good reason, given the centrality of terror in the aesthetics of the sublime. But if trauma calls for mourning, then after Auschwitz and Hiroshima the process of mourning itself must be radically politicised. For these qualitative events of genocidal violence ultimately point to the social antagonism at the core of capitalist modernity. Any serious theoretical encounter with trauma and the sublime, then, must converge with radical social critique. This article explores the social and political contexts of the sublime and reveals the aesthetic category as a category in transition open to change and shaped by history. These insights are then brought to bear on the predicaments of art and the paradoxes of sublime artistic representations of traumatic history after 1945.
Abstract In the context of contemporary debates concerning the use of urban space in Bombay, this article finds in the paintings of Sudhir Patwardhan and Gieve Patel insights into the aesthetic, moral and political problems confronted by city dwellers in everyday life. By bringing the street into the gallery, the author argues, these artists provide viewers adequate space to contemplate how the street serves as a site of social contestation and overwhelming sensory experience. Against aesthetic theories dismissing contemplation as fundamentally amoral and apolitical, this article finds that this manner of viewing is marshalled here in order to represent the internal life of the individual within the canvas and to incite in the viewer appreciation of the dignity of the human subject.
Abstract ‘De‐Regulation’ looks at the concept of experience within a regional specificity of Turkey and through the video installation of Kutlug Ataman. Within this relational geography, the ‘Turkey’ that is invoked in Ataman’s work or through the effects of ‘De‐Regulation’ is more a reading strategy for the performance of place, than a set of informing socio‐historical contexts. It is the regional site of many conflicting, contradictory and de‐legitimated experiences which are rarely in the position of organising their own narrative framework. In our cultural world, ‘experience’ is invoked primarily in relation to two realms. One is to do with claiming an authenticity of knowledge through direct exposure and interaction rather than abstract perception, and the other is to do with a claim for authenticity. The ‘proximity’ to a real implied by experience always seems to endow a claim with a direct validity, legitimacy and genuineness. This discussion argues for experience to be distanced from the State which regulates, defines and articulates it and for a recognition of the numerous ‘subject‐becomings’ to be marked around us.
Abstract This article aims to establish the grounds for a postcolonial reading of both Greece and its representation. It attempts to take a deeper look at the framework in which the image of Greece is constructed, interpreted and finally represented by examining how Greek photography has evaluated and represented its domestic environment, and the degree to which such an operation has been determined or influenced by dominant Western culture. The term cultural colonialism or cultural Westernisation of the globe is most relevant in the type of approach adopted here. In order to frame his topic of interest, the author has taken into consideration the photographic work of the Greek photographer Nelly. Overall, Nelly illustrates a good deal about the desired identity of the new state, an image of how Greece’s new middle class desired both their country and themselves to appear, that is, how they sought to constitute their social, cultural and national identity.
Abstract This article analyses the Sixth Generation director Wang Chao’s film The Orphan of Anyang in the context of China’s economic reforms that have so radically affected Chinese society in the past decades. Driven by a new capitalist market force, many state‐run factories have closed and laid off workers such as Dagang, the male protagonist in the movie. He struggles to survive with little help from a socialist party‐state also weakened by the same force of Chinese capitalism. Yanli, the female protagonist, works as a prostitute in order to support her newborn child and her ageing parents in the country. She represents a challenging matriarchal power that had long been absent under Mao’s socialism but seems to emerge as traditional patriarchy declines in dire economic circumstances such as state bankruptcy and nationwide unemployment.
Third Text is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.