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How to do Things with Pictures in the Museum: Photography, Montage and Political Space. | Supervisors: Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes and Sophie Berrebi. Online, 2 December, 16:00 hrs.

Detail Summary
Date 2 December 2020
Time 16:00

In this dissertation (conducted initially under the supervision of ASCA founder Mieke Bal), I extend J.L. Austin’s concept of the transformative nature of speech as a “toolbox” for thinking about critical art practice. Through close reading of transhistorical examples, I consider photomontage practice specifically as a language of the political imaginary. The montage image, composed from the fragments of other images, favours heterogeneity over hegemony, and as such, is ineradicably tied to challenging dominant discourse. Working from Austin’s original classes of speech acts, published as How to do Things with Words (1962), I propose new terms for performative strategies under the umbrella of political art: to enjoin in refusal; to consider another vantage point; to bring into consciousness through productive looking; to participate as a collective community; to make space for; and to force recognition through citation. This approach considers the intersection of artists, art institutions, curators and beholders as critical partners in the utterance, staging and reception of the visual speech act.