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Jacques Rancière: Artistic Regimes and the Shortcomings of the Notion of Modernity

Modern Aesthetics presentation z3374946
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Melissa Katon

on 4 October 2012

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Transcript of Jacques Rancière: Artistic Regimes and the Shortcomings of the Notion of Modernity

Artistic Regime and the Shortcomings
of the Notion of Modernity Jacques Rancière IMAGES... which are the 'object of a twofold question: the question of their origin (and consequently their truth content) and the question of their end or purpose, the uses they are put to and the effects they result in.’

Status and signification of an image
Divine imagery: the right to produce such imagery, the way it is produced, what is represented Ethical Regime of Images Poetic/Representative Regime Aesthetic Regime Modernity and Postmodernity Avant-Garde Hans Belting Relevance of Ranciere { } Opening questions:
1. What is modernity?
2. What is post modernity?
3. What is the avant garde? Introduction Melissa Katon
z3374946 ONE: Three regimes of Western art
1. The ethical regime of images
2. The poetic and representative regime
3. The aesthetic regime

TWO: How Rancière uses these regimes to show how the terms modernity and postmodernity are problematic

THREE: How he posits a possibility of a connection between the aesthetic avant-garde and the political avant-garde that could bridge the aesthetic with the political.

FOUR: Relevance of Rancière:
Synthesised theory that is relevant to philosophy and art
How Rancière gives value to art by linking it to politics
How Rancière is the latest French maître à penser (master thinker) Overview { Alfred Barr chart 1 2 3 Conclusion. " " ( ) & Giovanni di Nicola da Pisa
The Madonna and Child, 1326-1358. Gold ground panel, pointed top62.2 cm x 39 cmPrivate collection Fra Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child, first half of 15th century Panel 155 cm x71 cm Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence Madonnna Child Platonic understanding of an image
the arts were more a method of making and doing rather than art as we know it
Plato constructed a dichotomy between true art, which was concerned with knowledge, and artistic simulacra, which sought to make copies of the world Joseph KosuthOne and Three Tables, 1965 So, for the ethical regime of images, ‘it is a matter of knowing in what way images’ mode of being affect the ethos, the mode of being of individuals and communities.' pp. 21 " " In this regime, images strive to be, and are perceived to be, artistic. This regime ‘identifies the substance of arts. Mimesis is not a normative principle that requires art to make copies

It is ‘ a pragmatic principle that isolates, within the general domain of the arts (ways of doing and making), certain particular forms of art that produce specific entities called imitations.’

Mimesis is therefore one of the various different artistic processes that produce imitations, freeing images from the ordinary control of artist products by their use and from the discourse legislated upon images in the ethical regime. ‘This results in the ‘external delimitation of a well-founded domain of imitations [and a] normative principle of inclusion.’ Essentially the arts, in their pursuit of artistic mimesis, develops forms of normativity...
"that define the conditions according to which imitations can be recognized as exclusively belonging to an art and assessed, within this framework, as good or bad, adequate or inadequate: partitions between the representable and unrepresentable; the distinction between genres according to what is represented; the distribution of resemblances according to principles of verisimilitude, appropriateness, or correspondence; criteria for distinguishing between and comparing the arts; etc." PP 21-22. The arts (fine arts) are identified within frameworks that classify ways of doing and making particular to that art, and from this result varying forms of hierarchy that delineate the proper ways of doing and making and means of judging those means as ‘good art’ or ‘bad art;’ this definition constitutes the ‘poetic’ element of the regime. He reassures the reader that mimesis isn’t a requirement of art in this regime but rather a ‘fold in the distribution of ways of doing and making, as well as in social occupations, a fold that renders arts visible. Framework and normative processes This regime of visibility also renders the arts as autonomous, a separate field in its own right, and structures the general order of occupations and ways of doing and making Regime of visibility ‘The logic of representation …enters into a relationship of global analogy with an overall hierarchy of political and social occupations.’ PP21-22. This provides a framework for the arts so that it can exist as a field or entity in its own right, rather than just being a process of creating images for a specific purpose as in the ethical regime.
In a sense it is a structuralist way of establishing the rules and regulations of each style of art, and the scale to which it must be judged against, as well as its singularity in comparison with the ethos. For Rancière, the aesthetic regime ‘…strictly refers to the specific mode of being of whatever falls within the domain of art, to the mode of being of the objects of art.’ PP 22. More specifically, the aesthetic regime is no longer concerned using the ways of doing and making to define art, like medium specificity to define each art, but rather it results in ‘…a sensible mode of being specific to artistic products,’ (PP 22) or the definition of artistic phenomena by its adherence to a specific regime of the sensible. THE REGIME OF THE SENSIBLE:
a heterogenous power, extricated from its ordinary connections, that allows a thought to become ‘foreign to itself:’ a product identical with something not produced, knowledge transformed into non-knowledge, logos identical with pathos, the intention of the unintentional.
The regime of the sensible is a ‘locus for a form of thought that has become foreign to itself, the invariable core in the identifications of art that have configured the aesthetic mode of thought from the outset.’ (PP 23). More simply put, it is a system or regime of thought that breaks away from the dominant mindset through by opposing it or reinterpreting it. "...the aesthetic regime of the arts is the regime that strictly identifies art in the singular and frees it from any specific rule, from any hierarchy of the arts, subject matter, and genres." PP 23. It does so by destroying the mimesis that established the ways of doing and making in the poetic and representative regimes, as it ‘asserts the absolute singularity of art and, at the same time, destroys any pragmatic criterion for isolating this singularity.' PP 23.

Without this pragmatic criterion, the arts could not become codified with rules, but only identified as having singularity – this grants art and its art forms autonomy with the forms that life uses to shape itself. Rancière upholds Schiller’s aesthetic state as the first, and unsurpassable, manifestation of the aesthetic regime. The aesthetic state is ‘a pure instance of suspension, a moment when form is experienced for itself. Moreover, it is the moment of the formation and education of a specific type of humanity.’ PP 24. Schiller's Aesthetic Idea Poetic/Representative Regime Aesthetic Regime Ethical Regime of Images Pre-modernity Modernity Postmodernity Medieval Renaissance Romanticism Contemporary Regimes Art Historical Periods “the three regimes do not correspond strictly to temporal periods, even though there are certain historical moments central to the formation of each. A regime is not a time frame, but a series of axioms that arrange art and position it in relation to other practices." The fact that we could ascribe certain time periods to each regime is what Rancière believe to be problematic, particularly that Modernism [and Postmodernism] ‘…trace a simple line of transition or rupture between the old and the new, the representative and the non-representative or the anti-representative.’ PP 24. Joseph J. Tanke, Retrieving the Politics of Aesthetics in Jacques Rancière: an Introduction, Philosophy, Politics, Aesthetics, (London, Continuum, 2011). Pp. 74. If the regimes are merely axioms that could be applied at any time, restricting them to a certain historical period is erroneous and assumes that the ethical regime of images, for example, cannot occur during Modernism, a time Rancière considered to be apart of the aesthetic regime. ? ‘the notion of modernity thus seems to have been deliberately invented to prevent a clear understanding of the transformations of art and its relationships with the other spheres of collective experience,’ PP 26. Rancière rejects both terms as they are falsely periodising, and historicist, misleadingly grouping into historical periods tensions which are inherent in the aesthetic regime of art. Modernism Postmodernism The arts have self-purified in order to exclude all elements borrowed from other arts, producing systems of formality that give art a sense of autonomy and singularity.
Modernism was an attempt at ‘establishing a distinctive feature of art by linking it to a simple teleology of historical evolution and rupture,’ PP 28 particularly focusing on the transition from the mimetic to the non-figurative beginning.
However, we must note that Ranciére insists that Modernism does not entail a break with the past, but is rather a development without a gap or break, and ‘wherever it ends up it will never stop being intelligible in terms of the continuity of art.' pp 28 It follows, then, that Postmodernism ‘rejects the formalism inherent in this agenda’ in order to affect a process of reversal of what Modernism imposed upon art, using various postmodern strategies to do so:

mixing low and high art,
developing new practices like performance art,
hybridizing practices by mixing media,
generally attempting to challenge the removal of art from life. Joseph J. Tanke, Retrieving the Politics of Aesthetics in Jacques Rancière: an Introduction, Philosophy, Politics, Aesthetics, (London, Continuum, 2011). Pp. 94. Both paradigms, according to Rancière, define forms, histories, and theories of art that obfuscate the politics of the aesthetic regime.

With respect to modernism, he contends that it is a limited perspective on the much broader transformations that start at the end of the eighteenth century.

In the second instance, he views contemporary rallying cries such as those of postmodernism as only partial recognition of what was lost with the invention of modernism. Joseph J. Tanke, Retrieving the Politics of Aesthetics in Jacques Rancière: an Introduction, Philosophy, Politics, Aesthetics, (London, Continuum, 2011). Pp. 94. " " Rancière posits that the notion of the ‘avant garde’ is most suitable, in the modernist tradition, for connecting politics and aesthetics, because of the two definitions of the avant-garde: 1 2 { Avant-garde in a topographical, militaristic notion that denotes a force that marches at the fore of a battle; the force has a clear understanding of its own movement, determines its direction of historical evolution, and selects its subjective political orientations. This links political subjectivity to a certain form – the avant-garde party that leads. The avant-garde that is associated with the aesthetic anticipation of the future, in the vein of Schiller. Rancière perceives the avant-garde as leaning towards the second definition in aesthetics: ‘not on the side of the advanced detachments of artistic innovation but on the side of the invention of sensible forms and material structures for a life to come.' PP 29.
This is what the aesthetic avant-garde brings to the political avant-garde, or attempted to do so anyway, by transforming politics into a total life programme.
This results in a confused history of the relations between aesthetic movements and political parties. It complacently maintains these two definitions, which are in reality two ideas of political subjectivity... } 1 2 Archi-political idea of a party:
the idea of a form of political intelligence that sums up the essential conditions for change. Meta-political idea of global political subjectivity:
the idea of the potentially inherent in the innovative sensible models of experience that anticipate a community to come. This confusion is, as Rancière believes, intentional: one has to look at how artistic ambition is often blamed for the sensible that lead to totalitarianism.
‘It is rather that the very idea of a political avant-garde is divided between the strategic conception and the aesthetic conception of the avant-garde.’ PP 30 Michael Riley, They call me niigarr, from the They call me niigarr series, 1995. Currently in Stills Gallery, Sydney, on loan from Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-Operative Ltd the next French maître à penser? ‘politics is not what occurs in Parliament but rather what is seen, spoken, read, and who has the power to see, speak and read:’ I think, similarly, art is also about what is spoken, read, and seen, and who has the power to do so. Tom Melick, Tom Melick: The Politics of Aesthetics, at http://tv.unsw.edu.au/video/tom-melick-the-politics-of-aesthetics presented at COFA 24th May 2011, accessed 9th September 2012. 1.Do you think Rancière’s interpretations of Modernity and Postmodernity as confusing the fundamentals of art are accurate, and demonstrate how they are problematic? Art and Politics - Adds depth to the current philosophical discourse
- Challenges the structures
- However also adds more to be confused 2.How functional, accurate, and applicable are Rancière’s regimes? Are they enlightening or as oppressive and restrictive as Modernity and Postmodernity? Is it possible to theorise art without creating and/or imposing theoretical framework? 3. Rancière postulates a possible connection between politics and aesthetics that gives value to art. Do we need to insist upon such a connection to valorise art or understand politics? Is it right to uphold Rancière as a champion for the political value of art? http://prezi.com/uh9oddfcy0lp/jacques-ranciere-artistic-regimes-and-the-shortcomings-of-the-notion-of-modernity/
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