Why Should We Still Be Hopeful?: Aestheticization of Power and Resistance

Why Should We Still Be Hopeful?: Aestheticization of Power and Resistance

Hasan Turgut
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4655-0.ch023
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As dispositif, power has to make itself aesthetics in three planes: desire, body, and space. Firstly, desire makes mobilization possible in which power is constituted, whether it is regarded as a deficiency or as a production-machine of socius. Secondly, space provides publicity and timelessness to power. Finally, the omnipresence ability of power is revealed by the body. Actualizing of power come in sight throughout the synchronic relationality of these three planes. So, the aestheticization and actualization of power are the same processes. Therefore, power is in need of organization of images and feelings. This is what aestheticization of power is. So, the study is based on the claim that the aesthetics of power and the aesthetics of resistance are immanent. Within the framework of the theoretical analyses, the chapter discusses whether aestheticizations of power and resistance will provide opportunities for hopefulness.
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There are many studies in the literature that define art as political criticism. The fields that the aesthetics of art have always been related to the production of the difference as the emergence of the new and specific. However, this is not enough to define art as a political-critical event. The area that the work of art aesthetizes may well be strengthening the hegemonic power relations. Hence, the field of art takes place through a dual process: molecular and molar. These conceptualizations, which Deleuze and Guattari use in many different contexts, are important for the functions of art. Art-machine, which Deleuze and Guattari (1987) conceptualize as molecular flow, is the assemblage of experiments aimed at the virtual-being of meaning. So, the art-machine means more than the artistic activity, which is reduced to a representative activity trapped in the dichotomy of the signifier-signified. The art-machine produces the process that does not represent. So, this comprehension of art involves Kant’s transcendental aesthetic to Spinoza’s immanence aesthetic-ethical approach. While Kant's transcendental aesthetic approach aims the representation of Beauty and Supreme, Spinoza's field of ethical immanence takes a tough stance against representation and rejects the outside assumption. This work will move from Spinoza's immanence ethical ground to address the concept of aesthetics and its relationship to the senses and the body.

Secondly, understanding the concept of aesthetics in relation to body and senses makes it necessary to consider aesthetics as an ontological process. This is the same as M. Foucault's recent claim to “to become life as a work of art”. Therefore, it is an imperative to talk about an aesthetic setup of existence in every situation that are talking about, not power, but power relations. On the one hand, the aestheticization of the body regulated by power relations and the time-space that it acts within the body; on the other hand, it is art-machine as an abstract machine that deterritorialise the aestheticization. Therefore, art practices that are unrepresentative, beyond the definition of homogeneous critical art, work as lines of flight (Zepke, 2005: p.3). This is the multi-functionality that Foucault and Deleuze express with the toolbox metaphor. Every lines of flight is made possible by experiments with those in the toolbox. But these experiments are not intended to build the machine as an organism. Because the machine should work first of all, and it works only if each part is broken and communicates with others, rather than the organization between its parts. So what is in the toolbox (runs the power-machine) that enables the aestheticizations of power? At the moment art as an abstract-machine intersect with the dispositif of power, the overdetermination of labour creates ethical creation processes: subjecti(vati)on1.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Actualisation: It is the emergence that the being, which makes the meaning infinite in a certain time-space, is temporarily fixed as existence.

Dispositive: It is the techniques and technologies of subjection that are made up of discursive and non-discursive practices that enable the establishment of a power-knowledge relationship.

Becoming: It is the ethical-aesthetic transformation in which the integrity defined as the subject goes beyond all the pre-given norms and pre-established institutionalization, making it impossible to establish this integrity.

Subjecti(vati)on: It is the power processes that define the subjection by subordinating and also identifying the subjectivity.

Virtual: It is the extension of Beings that makes the meaning infinite.

Ethics: Confused with morality, but unlike morality, not subordinating the subject to social norms; on the contrary, they are actions that appear immanently to the subject.

Aestheticization: It is the realization of Being in a sensible dimension against the power relations that enable the subject to be set up in body, desire, and time-space coordinates.

Collective Assemblage of Enunciation: It is the collective norms that express the social obligations that enable the body to be defined as the subject.

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