The avant garde is dead, or so the story goes for many leftists and capitalists alike. But so is postmodernism an outmoded paradigm in these times of neoliberal austerity, neocolonial militarism and ecological crisis. Rejecting ‘end of ideology’ post-politics, Vanguardia delves into the changing praxis of socially engaged art and theory in the age of the Capitalocene. Reflecting on the major events of the last decade, from anti-globalisation protest, Occupy Wall Street, the Maple Spring, Strike Debt and the Anthropocene, to the Black Lives Matter and MeToo campaigns, Vanguardia puts forward a radical leftist commitment to the revolutionary consciousness of avant-garde art and politics.
Das Kapital Oratorio to the political limits of the Black Lives Matter and MeToo movements as forms of ‘victim politics.’ In contrast to Simon Critchley’s notion of an ‘ethics of commitment’ and Nizan Shaked’s particularist and identity-based approach to conceptual art’s ‘synthetic proposition,’ I draw on Marxist theory in order to better appreciate the limits of postmodern pluralism as a means to confront the problems of global capitalism.
Prole art threat
Judith Butler’s notion of the performative
politics. Contemporary political campaigns like Black Lives Matter and MeToo transform the experience of victimisation directly into demands for accountability, a process that tends to reproduce the political and structural frameworks within which structural violence takes place. Against ‘victim politics,’ I argue for a democracy without guarantees that rejects various solutions to the rise of the political right: masochistic self-culpabilisation, appeals to civil society, scapegoating and nihilistic destruction. I explore Marxist literature for concepts with which to