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Art and the Politics of Visibility: Contesting the Global, Local and the In-Between

Art and the Politics of Visibility: Contesting the Global, Local and the In-Between
Zeena Feldman

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How does cultural context affect the interpretation of art? What makes artists' work transnational or national in character, and how will their visibility be impacted by either label? Art and the Politics of Visibility questions these dynamics, asking how the dissemination of visual culture on a global scale affects art and its institutions. Taking Shanghai-based artist Yang Fudong's practice as a point of departure, this volume focuses on how politically charged images produced in contemporary art, cinema, literature, news media and fashion become widely consumed or marginalised. Through case studies of artists including Titus Kaphar, Sara Maple, Shirin Neshat, J.M. Coetzee, Barbara Walker and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the book illuminates the relationship between visibility, politics and identity in contemporary visual culture.

Table of Contents

Chapters include: 

Chinese Artist Films in the Transnational Art World: Yang Fudong and the Politics of Precarity 
Chris Berry (King’s College London)

The Blind Spots of Representation: The Difficulty of Reading
Juliet Steyn

Defiant Embodiments and the Gender: Geopolitics of Seeing
M.I. Franklin (Goldsmiths, University of London)

(In)Visibility as Resistance: Performing the Right to Disappear in J.M. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K
Patrick Hanafin (Birkbeck, University of London)

Valences of Subjectivity: The Politics of Personal Narrative in Video Art
Rachel Garfield (University of Reading)

Hauntology and Hospitality in the Films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Janet Harbord (Queen Mary, University of London)

Ethics and Visual Culture
Zeena Feldman (King’s College London)

Author Info

Zeena Feldman is Lecturer in Digital Culture in the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. She publishes on the relationship between social media and everyday life.


‘Things do not get seen by simply existing. In the world of visual culture, visibility remains highly political and a much-contested concept that touches upon issues of identity and representation, ethics and recognition, responsibility and justice. This rich collection of texts is a commendable attempt to rethink the politics of visibility in the context of art. It is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the vicissitudes of (in)visibility’. - Btihaj Ajana, Senior Lecturer in Culture, Digital Humanities & Creative Industries, King's College London and Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies

‘Art and the Politics of Visibility provides a lively and productive space for academic debates between visual culture, critical theory and transnationalism to meet, to develop and to exchange. It is wide-ranging in scope, moving from feminist arguments over the veil to the precarities of Chinese art, from the hospitality of Thai cinema to racializations of UK video production. A powerful concern with ethics, borders and transnational knowledge exchange runs throughout this thoughtful collection, which will be of great interest to scholars across a range of disciplines’. - Jo Littler, Reader in the Centre for Culture and Creative Industries, City University of London

‘This is an extraordinary book. Genuinely transnational and transdisciplinary, it troubles borders and asks important questions about art, politics, representation and visibility. In doing so it opens up new ethical, intellectual and political spaces for thinking about visual culture. An exciting and contemporary read it will be of interest to artists, students, philosophers, sociologists, media scholars, film-makers and journalists- and anyone interested in the spectacular visuality of our rapidly-changing world' - Rosalind Gill, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, City University of London

‘At a time when interdisciplinarity has largely ceased posing the exciting challenges that it posed 30 years ago and has been comfortably assumed into old orders of discourse, along comes Zeena Feldman with Art and the Politics of Visibility to reassert the radical possibilities of such work. Bravo to her and her brilliant contributors’Toby Miller, Visiting Professor for the Department of Social Communication at Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia. 

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781780769066
Publication Date: 03 Oct 2017
Number of Pages: 288
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: 30 colour in 16pp plates

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