In his “Theses toward the Politicization of Art” Alexander Skidan applies the Brechtian concept of estrangement as a model of political art.
Estrangement, by destroying the aesthetic illusion, draws the recipient into the process of self-reflection and self-consciousness.
At the same time the very nature of art as such is questioned, suspended.
Estrangement, caesura, self-reflection, fragmentation, destabilization of the subject and dispersion of the narrative – these are the instruments, which work to provide us with the a-semantic gaps, folds of meaning, not yet appropriated by ideology.
Political art must not be confused with propaganda: while the former is (in) the process of becoming and self-questioning, the latter is an authoritarian imposition of the already known. In an age of total capitalism it is important to insist upon a critical, self-conscious artistic strategy; otherwise art risks being transformed into a mere commodity, into something that serves to maintain the status quo. From here yet another necessity arises: to dismantle prefabricated cultural meanings, emphasizing thereby our own lack of wholeness and incompleteness. We are colonized, traversed by others, by their discourse. Yet at the same time we are addressed, exposed to them.
The possibility of a new (post-Soviet) solidarity through the experience of such exposure – in aesthetics as much as in the social and political field – is another significant theme of Skidan’s article.