The Emancipated Spectator
In this title, the foremost philosopher of art argues for a new politics of seeing. The role of the viewer in art and film theory revolves around a theatrical concept of the spectacle. The masses subjected to the society of spectacle have traditionally been seen as aesthetically and politically passive - in response, both artists and thinkers have sought to transform the spectator into an active agent and the spectacle into a performance. In this follow-up to the acclaimed "The Future of the Image", Ranciere takes a radically different approach to this attempted emancipation. Beginning by asking exactly what we mean by political art or the politics of art, he goes on to look at what the tradition of critical art, and the desire to insert art into life, has achieved. Has the militant critique of the consumption of images and commodities become, instead, a melancholic affirmation of their omnipotence?