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‘The Post-documentary’ : between Art and Politics

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2017, 51(), pp.65-94
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.51.0.03
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : June 30, 2017

Jong-Chul Choi 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper deals with ‘the aesthetic turn of social documentary’ that has been a noticeable phenomenon in the recent art world. Represented by artists such as Luc Delahaye, Juul Hondious, Richard Mosse and Jim Goldberg, this new turn of documentary is characterized by the frequent use of digital technologies and other aesthetic measures (pictorial composition, appealing color and size, etc.) that provide a deeper visual experience on political disasters around the world. It challenges documentary's dubious myth of objectivity and authenticity by accepting all the post-protocols nurtured in digital paradigms; thus it deserves the name, ‘post-documentary’ as a new terrain of photographic art in this digital era. Post-documentary's inter-subjective, immersive, and virtual (or ‘poetic’) experiences construct a new spectatorship that subsumes both political awareness and aesthetic pleasure. Philosopher Jacques Rancière's notion ‘the distribution of the sensible’ and his claims on the fundamental unity between the aesthetic regime and the political regime will be discussed in the paper to ensure post-documentary's sensorial appeal and its interdisciplinary role between art and politics. Critic Michael Fried's new photo-theory will also be discussed as the theory, despite its explicit modernist and aesthetic stands, elaborates the inseparable connection between a photographic image and its viewer. Although seemingly irrelevant, the two theorists make a harmonizing voice in their discussion of theatre: for both, it is a space of ‘emancipation’ where the spectator ― ‘ignorant, disinterested’ ― finds its genuine potentials in the world of image. With this theoretical frame, this paper aims to map out a new direction of documentary art that would bring all the previously unmediated fields ― art, politics and ethics ― together.

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