Sruti Bala
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Between image, act, body and language
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This chapter argues that participatory art practices need to be understood in conjunction with the anxieties and contradictions that accompany them. The analysis of participatory art and the conceptualization of participation in and through art thereby become intertwined in complex ways. The interpretation of participatory practices through the register of the gestural is to rethink participation while accommodating its contradictions and disquietudes. In mapping out the concept, gesture recurs as a foil to four interconnected realms: language, the body, the image and the act. The gestures of language are inseparable from imagery, they bring forth images, hint at grasping language through a different, non-discursive dimension. At the same time gestures are themselves dynamized images, they introduce observable movement into an image, with a beginning and an end. In its mediation between the body and language, the chapter identifies the notion of the gesture aptly captures the paradoxes of participatory art.

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