Investigating art practitioners’ responses to violence, this book considers how artists have used art practices to rethink concepts of violence and non-violence. It explores the strategies that artists have deployed to expose physical and symbolic violence through representational, performative and interventional means.

It examines how intellectual and material contexts have affected art interventions and how visual arts can open up critical spaces to explore violence without reinforcement or recuperation. Its premises are that art is not only able to contest prevailing norms about violence but that contemporary artists are consciously engaging with publics through their practice in order to do so. Contributors respond to three questions: how can political violence be understood or interpreted through art? How are publics understood or identified? How are art interventions designed to shift, challenge or respond to public perceptions of political violence and how are they constrained by them? They discuss violence in the everyday and at state level: the Watts’ Rebellion and Occupy, repression in Russia, domination in Hong Kong, the violence of migration and the unfolding art activist logic of the sigma portfolio.

Asking how public debates can be shaped through the visual and performing arts and setting taboos about violence to one side, the volume provides an innovative approach to a perennial issue of interest to scholars of international politics, art and cultural studies.

chapter |15 pages


‘Art, culture and violence’
ByRuth Kinna, Gillian Whiteley

chapter 1|24 pages

From Watts to Wall Street

A Situationist analysis of political violence
ByMartin Lang

chapter 2|20 pages

Protest art and public space

Oleg Kulik and the strategies of Moscow Actionism
ByMarina Maximova

chapter 3|19 pages

Project sigma

The temporality of activism
ByVlad Morariu, Jaakko Karhunen

chapter 4|21 pages

Challenging state-led political violence with art activism

Focus on borders 1
ByAmy Corcoran

chapter 5|18 pages

Power v. violence

How can contemporary art create a ‘space of appearance’ and generate social change?
ByJessica Holtaway