The Emergence of Change Through Embracing Freedom: Agent Art


Contemporary art may not be formulated as one thing, however, instead of generating new propositions, its reproduction and aestheticization of social reality and identities can be spotted. Conversely, aspiring for positive change, the aim of this paper is to propose an alternative way of existence and conception of social reality through the approach of agent art. Sartre explains that even if we try to refuse to take the responsibility of our choices "we are condemned to be free." However, since our freedom designates our responsibility in our choices, we resist accepting being free and the changeability of our identities and social reality, even though we know that they are our constructions. With this notion, agent art aims to reveal and depict viewers’ resistance to change and to their freedom. Since viewers know that the social reality and identities are their constructions and they are the ones responsible of pursuing them, agent art abolishes the hierarchic patronising position of the artist over the viewer in the sense that artist presents something that is not known. This statement indicates the equality between the artist and the viewer in knowing. Consequently, equality, rather than an object of desire that will come in the future, hence, will never come, is comprehended as here and now, just as freedom is. Accordingly, agent art abolishes the constructed hierarchic dualities between the artist and the viewer, such as educator-learner, demonstrator-spectator, talented-untalented and so on. This comprehension arises the capacity to change, thus, the future becomes now.

Author Information
Ceren Selmanpakoğlu, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2019
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism

This paper is part of the ECAH2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon