Reconstructing the Bodies: Between the Politics of Order and the Politics of Disorder
In order to overcome the post-political condition—which in the realm of politics blurs differences between the left and right political parties and, in the realm of art, differences between art and commodity, leaving us without choice—some thinkers envisaged alternative political projects to neoliberalism. Jacques Rancière envisaged the model of communal anarchism; a politics of disorder and dissensus, without any type of mastery. Chantal Mouffe envisaged the model of agonistic pluralism; a politics of order and conflictual consensus, regulated by hegemony and decisional acts. After drawing a distinction between Rancière’s and Mouffe’s theories, I will observe their different consequences for envisaging the relationship between art and politics. To begin with, I will draw attention to Peter Bürger’s survey of the mutual conditionality of bourgeois art and the vanguard movements in art. This observation will enable a distinction between the artistic strategies of rupture and the artistic strategies of engagement, pointing at the different consequences that they have on conceiving the political dimension of art. Finally, I will show that from the point of view of the artistic strategies of engagement, the relationship between the abject and intelligible bodies is a matter of decision, that enables a move beyond class-, gender-, or race- based identities, towards the relational forms of identifications.