Politics-Power-Pictures Reading Group

We are an interdisciplinary reading group interested in the politics of images and the power relations which permeate them.

Based at the Centre for Critical Materialist Studies in the School of Fine Art, History of Art Cultural Studies, University of Leeds, the reading group has been organised in collaboration with the University’s School of Languages, Cultures and Societies and the History of Art Department at the University of York.

Our goal is to provoke theoretical interventions and practicable analyses of pictures, images, and visuals as they relate to politics and the political. We read and discuss seminal theoretical texts, as well as presenting our own images from art, cinema, or further afield.

For this week’s session of the reading group we will be discussing ‘The Exform’, the introduction to Nicolas Bourriaud’s latest book The Exform.

The French art critic and curator Nicolas Bourriaud rose to prominence for his role in the promotion and theorisation of emerging ‘social’ art practices in the 1990s. Most famed for Relational Aesthetics (1998), a text which attempted to explain the shift towards art focusing on social relations, Bourriaud’s theoretical and curatorial practice has continued to explore themes of community, labour-relations and consumption whist also considering the role of the artist and spectator. In his latest work, The Exform, Bourriaud looks to the future of art through a reevaluation of Louis Althusser’s work on ideology, asking questions surrounding the role of art in a society of precarity, waste and the anthropocene.

A PDF of the chapter and further information can be found here.

For further information, please email politicspowerpictures@gmail.com
Image credit: Detail from Matthieu Laurette, Mobile Information Stand For Moneyback Products (1999). Photo: Kristof Vrancken / Z33