How has visual culture played a contested role within the social movements of the last several decades? How, we might ask, is activism made visible; how does it erupt (or disappear) with collective fields of vision? Drawing upon South African lesbian photographer Zanele Muholi’s term “visual activism” as a flexible rubric that encompasses both formal practices and political strategies, this lecture class interrogates contemporary visual cultures of dissent and protest as they span a range of ideological positions. We will examine recent developments in and around recent intersections of art and politics, looking closely at performances, photographs, art objects, and graphic interventions from around the world, with a special focus on tactics of illegibility and fugitivity. Topics might include visual responses to structural racisms, global climate change, state violence, and queer/trans issues.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (C) and Chronological period (III).