Subversiveness is a mind-set in times of serious crisis but today it seems to have abandoned the field of ethical-political and aesthetic contention, with all its criticism, protest, dissidence and negation, in favour of consensus, conformism and acceptance that the world is as it is. We are consumers and live at the mercy of systems and processes that we want to be a part of and of technology that seduces us with its seemingly indispensable gadgets. Any hint of the creative and experimental spirit that used to fuel counter-cultures, subcultures and movements is neutralised by the global system's ability to absorb and digest all things. As social life and even democracy implode, it is imperative to identify new forms of commitment. We must pass from subversiveness to different, positive and constructive forms of activism. Poetic–political works by many artists can construct this option.
These are the thoughts behind a weighty book entitled Art and Activism in the Age of Globalization, in which Lieven De Cauter, Ruben De Roo and Karel Vanhaesebrouck give voice to theorists such as Rosi Braidotti, Brian Holmes and Francesca Recchia as well as artists working in various fields—from Stalker to Renzo Martens, Pippo Delbono and Tim Miller.
Art and Activism in the Age of Globalization focuses on an art-form that moves crosswise; not content to just portray it, the book seeks to uncover art that intends to shape today's world and that of the future. Art that inhabits personal experience, activating the heart of society with the potential to redesign its structure.
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