9781844677610-the-emancipated-spectator-pb-max_221

The Emancipated Spectator

The foremost philosopher of art argues for a new politics of looking.
The theorists of art and film commonly depict the modern audience as aesthetically and politically passive. In response, both artists and thinkers have sought to transform the spectator into an active agent and the spectacle into a communal performance.

In this follow-up to the acclaimed The Future of the Image, Rancière takes a radically different approach to this attempted emancipation. First asking exactly what we mean by political art or the politics of art, he goes on to look at what the tradition of critical art, and the desire to insert art into life, has achieved. Has the militant critique of the consumption of images and commodities become, ironically, a sad affirmation of its omnipotence?

Reviews

  • “In this follow-up to his fruitful The Future of the Image, French philosopher Rancière argues forcefully against familiar critiques of the "spectacle" ... This persuasive argument is fleshed out through close readings of art, ­photography, literature and video installation, and a drily amusing analysis of leftwing "melancholy" and "rightwing frenzy" in critiques of ­capitalism.”
  • “What we see here is Ranciere developing a unique voice as a political theorist.”
  • “French philosopher Jacques Ranciere is a refreshing read for anyone concerned with what art has to do with politics and society.”
  • “Ranciere's writings offer one of the few conceptualizations of how we are to continue to resist.”
  • The Emancipated Spectator is intended to improve our comprehension of art and deepen our grasp of the politics of perception ... [it has an] impressive concern with the political analysis of art and the use of imagery”
  • “What we are given is, above all, a figure of the spectator whose capacities to sense and think are greater than we have been prepared to conceive.”
  • “His art lies in the rigor of his argument—its careful, precise unfolding —and at the same time not treating his reader, whether university professor or unemployed actress, as an imbecile.”
  • “In the face of impossible attempts to proceed with progressive ideas within the terms of postmodernist discourse, Rancière shows a way out of the malaise.”
  • “It’s clear that Jacques Rancière is relighting the flame that was extinguished for many—that is why he serves as such a signal reference today.”

Blog

  • 'Response to Rancière'

    Writer and psychoanalyst Jacques-Alain Miller responds to Jacques Rancière’s interview on ‘The Front National’s useful idiots’ and below this we publish Rancière's riposte.

     

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  • Protesting in France could land you in prison

    The right to demonstrate is non-negotiable. But in towns and cities across France, society is being reordered in a way that criminalises social and political struggles.

    In Madrid, the opponents of the new Internal Security Act organized a demonstration of holograms in the Spanish Parliament.

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  • Jacques Rancière - Cinematic Vertigo: Hitchcock to Vertov and Back


    The Vertigo Effect, a series of more than 25 films marked, in one way or another, by Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 classic, commenced last night at BAMBelow, we present Jacques Rancière's essay on the film from Intervals of Cinema, which casts back to Vertov's Man With the Movie Camera to uncover the faultline Hitchcock's work straddles.

    Understanding the art of moving images means first understanding the relation between two movements: the visual unrolling of images specific to cinema; and the deployment and dissipation of semblances more broadly characteristic of the narrative arts. In the western tradition, the second aspect is dominated by the Aristotelian logic of inversion. The plot is a sequence of actions that seems to have a certain meaning and lead towards a certain end. But as the sequence unfolds, expectations are dashed: the alliance of causes produces an entirely different effect from the one anticipated; knowledge becomes ignorance and ignorance knowledge; success changes to disaster or misfortune to happiness. How can the unrolling of moving images be married to that particular logic for unveiling the truth behind appearances? I would like to show that the most perfect synchronization of the two movements includes a fault. And I will attempt to understand the philosophical meaning and political weight of that fault. So I will talk about the relation between vision, movement and truth. And by the same token I will have to talk about the relation between cinema, philosophy, literature and communism.

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Other books by Jacques Rancière Translated by Gregory Elliott