Counter-hegemonic Visual Arts: Anti-Empire as Method

This paper is based on the conviction that “another type of knowledge is possible” (Stoler 2016) but must be created “beyond the northern epistemologies” – (Sousa Santos 2008). I will not focus on “the darker side of western modernity” like Mignolo (2011), but on a positive example of “border thinking” (Mignolo 2000); in this particular case a critical theory based on Second-Third World assemblages and some discursive-non-discursive approaches. The aim is not to reconstruct the history of the Second-Third World relations. I have already done that in my book Socialist Postcolonialism (2018). The purpose is to create a methodological framework based on a shift from First-Third World relations (the dominant subject in postcolonial studies) to Second-Third World relations. The visual arts will be treated as an illustration of the paper’s theoretical part and as an artistic expression of politically engaged critical studies. I will take a closer look at the role of non-discursive critical tools used in art. The problem is, to what extent difficulties with the conceptual framework as such, understood as part of Western discursive hegemony, can be solved in the non-discursive language of art (with some of the trans-historic dialog between Polish socialist artists and Vietnamese contemporary critical art, like the Propeller Group)? Maybe we should rather ask what sorts of not-only-discursive practices – visual arts, performance, dance, or theater – are or at least could be an alternative solution to post/colonial Western dominance?

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