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The Pathogenic Mediums of Contemporary Art: Jean-Luc Nancy and the Post-COVID Community

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2023, 69(), pp.54-80
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.69.0.03
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : April 15, 2023
  • Accepted : May 13, 2023
  • Published : June 30, 2023

Jong-Chul Choi 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper analyzes the emergence of pathogenic mediums in contemporary art ― saliva, sweat, blood, odor, fungus, and bacteria ― and seeks to articulate the messages such art conveys in this pandemic era through the insights of Jean-Luc Nancy and his community theory. The artists discussed in this paper are Anicka Yi, Pierre Huyghe, and Sun Choi, whose works have been commonly framed in relational aesthetics, post-human discourse, or Anthropocene theory. Considering such frames to be a little off the point, this paper suggests that the rise of pathogenic mediums has to do with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the dire reality our community faces in this global crisis. In order to find a connection between viral infection and communal affection, this paper examines the notion of community Nancy formulated in his writings Inoperative Community, An All-Too-Human Virus and Intruder. In other words, the outbreak of COVID-19 is an event that awakens the essence of our community as a space for “exposition,” for the “singular plural” actualized through a certain “infection or affection” by which the innermost otherness of the subject comes to light. As this paper claims, the pathogenic artists provide an opportunity to lead us back to the community by awakening the inherent otherness in all of us distressed long enough in social distancing and lockdown.

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