Political Art Movement: How About an Artistic Political Movement?


Metamodern Politics. Political Art Movements: How About an Artistic Political Movement?

“If somebody questions reality, truth, facts; [it] always becomes a political act.” – Ai Weiwei

By Allen Sands

Art has imitated life long enough. Metamodernism brings a level of industry and digital technology that enables life to imitate art as quickly as it’s created. Public Relations is one of the largest industries you might not be aware of. Through a well designed process, our sensory receptors are filled with competitively produced visual art. The political party spares no expense in taking advantage of progressive new trends and witty catch-phrases; but only to inspire the same old formulas.

Politics is a hot topic on social media. Milgram theorized that people exist in two states of mind. The autonomous or the agentic state at any given time. The autonomous state is when we think critically and assume responsibility for our decisions and actions. The agentic state is when we justify our actions, no matter how brutal or unthinking as long as we’re not entirely responsible; as in following orders or enforcing political agendas under another person’s authority.

This agentic state can be achieved through any association with political parties or cults. The individual party member will always stay loyal to party leadership at all costs, regardless of how inspiring a new contender might be. If that’s the case inevitably the formula party candidate will start absorbing more and more of the competition’s platform or style. Artists call it copying and writers call it plagiarism. All great art gets its a portion of its greatness from the great art that preceded it. It’s the uniqueness and originality of the delivery system that makes the political or artistic message attractive. What makes an artistic trend successful is a well conditioned following. What makes the political party successful is – a well conditioned following.

All art movements and political organizations have some core aesthetic. An art movement may have a political or an anti-political or economic manifesto. Art movements in many ways have inspired political and cultural movements through form and intellectual function. In the political arts we see many adaptations in corruption and schools of study when it comes to connecting with the viewer. Political and art movements critique the standards and demands of politics and pop-culture by making pop-culture the conduit through which the manifesto or image is mass-marketed.

The Situationist International were a politically motivated avant-garde coalition of visual, performance artists, filmmakers and writers coalescing in the late fifties, sixties and throughout the early seventies. They believed in parallels between art and the situational experience. They had strong sociopolitical opinions. It was in the way that consumerism and “advanced capitalism” as they called it was over-commercializing art and making superficial materialism more infectious as a necessity to every day living. Their work referenced values, class division and probed ideas about social engineering and urban development.

“Weber’s studies of bureaucracy, together with his ambiguous interpretation of its rationality and Michels’s study of political parties provide examples of modern forms that constrain individual freedom of expression and action. Both, however, interpreted modernity as a break with the traditional bonds of rural society that entailed the possibility of a new freedom of action and expression for the individual and thus a new relationship between the individual and the collective.” – Modernity and Social Movements by Ron Eyerman

In other words, art and political movements have relevance if the individual’s critical thought process maintains its autonomy within the collective. The danger of the political party or cult is that individuals can become more active in the agentic state rather than the autonomous state. In the group we sometimes sacrifice our own individual or creative autonomy for approval. We are not authorized to share ideas, contrary to the evolutionary demands of social and artistic process.

The artistic and scientific dynamic do not exist without some jealousy or resentment within their social spheres. But there is a tendency for sharing techniques; ideas and finding new combinations. The same cannot be said about political parties. Art and science seek to innovate and extrapolate, while politics seek to manipulate and stagnate.

Comprehensive art, political science and religion get very little attention in public education. Memorization and discipline, or lack there of, over critical analysis and experience is the root of American public education. This is also how politics are practiced in America. We are taught to remember select facts no matter how far out of context they’re taken.

From Pragmatism, Post-modernism, and Complexity Theory: The “Fascinating Imaginative Realm” of William E. Doll, Jr., co-authored with Donna Trueit, “…initiates a discussion of what it might mean to move beyond reductive thinking to thinking complexly. In education it refers to self-organizing systems and the conditions of emergence.” Why haven’t our political and social institutions followed this natural progression of emergence?

“Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark all is deluge.”
– Horace Mann

Civilizations survive through adaptation and change. According to Jacques Fresco, “All social systems are in a state of evolution. An established society is one that has found a way that works for the people in control of that society. Whereas all societies are emergent, constantly evolving.” To a certain degree that might describe the artistic process. Or to some extent, describe the newer political constructs coming out of Europe and Scandinavia.

Metamodern Politics. Political Art Movement: Artistic Political MovementDuring the Age of Enlightenment, American Democracy or the Republic was considered a very avant garde or revolutionary idea. American Democracy today has become a vacuum, void of creativity and collaborative ideology. Then one day we’re compelled to hate French Fries and begin to love “Freedom” Fries. It’s more than just a potato; it’s a state of mind. Just like a political party is more than just a collaborative group of individuals. The party dogma takes on Biblical proportions.

Political parties and their politics are just a “state of mind”. There are more progressive trends in political and economic thinking these days that emulate socialist and libertarian principles. People are gravitating toward more experiments in social and economic compatibility rather than social and economic conquest. We have multi-media, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic hybridization, along with genetic modification. Why is it so difficult for America’s political parties to expand beyond their own polarities? Is it possible to embrace more than just a two dimensional political system?

The Arts have crossed over and blended disciplines. It’s all just art now. Cultures and ethnicity have crossed over and blended traditions. We’re all just people now. America’s political parties, still selfish, agentic and polarized. Always divided in partisism; always fighting autonomy and always fighting to maintain their grip on cultural entropy and sustainable destruction.


The Martial arts are a good example of multi-disciplined processes; emergent and constantly evolving. Kung Fu: Chinese term referring to “any study”, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete. That might apply to most social, political and industrial aspects of human life. The visual arts may imitate life, not much in contrast to the martial arts which imitate and provide lessons. Ultimately, both observe and learn from life. This improves form function and creates balance within a vortex of opposing energies.

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