Readymade-image-sentence: protest aesthetics in a time of democracy post-1989

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Published: Jan 16, 2022
aesthetics protest city North-South East-West
Anthony McInneny


Jacques Rancière perceives the image as what is sayable and visible and 20C film montage as an Image-sentence: the closest proximity of parallel realities (Rancière 2007). Prohibited from public view, Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 Readymade revolution is re-membered in a photographic image: a fountain-urinal. On the mourning after WWII, George Orwell noted readymade-sentences of what could(n’t) be said (Duchamp 1997). Captured by Rene Magritte, the treachery of a painted-word-image-thought, could have been a film about what it wasn’t (Flavia, 2014). About now, Walter Benjamin saw an optical unconscious in the photograph miraculously inverting the awe of culture and nature. (Benjamin 2004) After 1989, Bruno Latour held this modern Constitution as equally anti-modern (before ever having been modern) and postmodern, after which there would be nothing, except the digital image (Latour 1993). Before this, Situationist International and Fluxus showed life as the other side art. Keep your coins, I want change, read millennial graffiti’s signature anonymity . With no True North, this portfolio-essay presents an Image of protest aesthetics in a time of democracy post-1989. Before, from a North in the South; after from southern hemisphere parallels; in-between from a South in the North. Overarching is a Pacific mirror. Each readymade-image-sentence has four cartoons and four, 200-word max. abstract captions.

Keywords –  aesthetics, protest, city, North-South, East-West

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Author Biography
Anthony McInneny, University of Newcastle

Dr Anthony McInneny is a visual artist, designer and academic as fellow at the University of Newcastle (Australia), Honorary Professor at the Universidad Del Desarrollo, Santiago (Chile) and member of the RMIT Contemporary Art, Society and Transformation (Australia). McInneny obtained his  PhD (architecture), Latent Space, Temporary Art and Suburban Public Space in 2014 (RMIT Australia). His research concerns Henri Lefebvre’s concept of spatial practice and appropriation. His research interests are in the contemporary forms and uses of the street, the plaza and the park.  Between 2004 and 2014 he was a coordinator, lecturer and academic in the RMIT Master of Art, Art in Public Space program and established the studio teaching method in this program. He has over 10 years experience in the field of cultural development, planning and art in urban renewal with municipal governments throughout metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. He has been commissioned to create temporary and permanent artworks in public space and has published and presented in various workshops, conferences and studios in Australia, USA, Asia, Latin America and Europe. He is currently living and working in Chile where he is teaching and undertaking research through practice in the public spaces of the capital city Santiago.

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