Research Line 1

Postcolonial Aesthetics and Media Image:

In this research, on the one hand, creative practices are observed by considering the resources and sociocultural stimuli within the ideological context of the reproduction of productive forces—the means of production along with their technologies and labor force—and democracy. On the other hand, art is related to the universality of democratic ideals and aesthetic and social reflections upon the cultural context that exists in today’s globalized world. Numerous visual manifestations such as media, cinematography, art exhibitions, and visual culture aim to discuss democracy and the sociopolitical context in terms of inequality, postcolonialism, the exploitation of minorities, immigration, ethnicity, gender, and climate change. These visual manifestations of social issues shape the dynamics of the global city, structuring the productive forces and their reproductions aiming at democracy.

Therefore, the analysis of postcolonial aesthetics and global media images present essential values highlighting sociopolitical themes by appropriating modern and contemporary artworks. However, it is not necessarily the case that the sociopolitical meanings of images are politically exercised within this context (Weber 1922). Rather, these meanings are contained in the politics themselves. Some artworks and themes allude to the freedom of expression, ethics, and democracy and, in doing so, question censorship in visual media and iconoclasm in modern and contemporary art. In this sense, this research line concentrates upon the values of human existence in global visual media in relation to their impact on international politics. As far as ethics and aesthetics can be questioned, are they represented by the search for “truth” in the images or they are simply alterations in the formal diversity of the creations?

From this question, it becomes clear that the connections between aesthetic experience and art with history, religion, or politics do not form autonomous discourses when political activity is seen as part of this reality. This is because the sensitive aspects of these images include the content and thus the political subject. The theoretical references for this argument can be found in Friedrich Schiller (1879), Jacques Rancière (2006, 2011, 2018), and currently in the work of Morton Schoolman (2020). These authors link aesthetics to many of society’s human achievements concerning politics, which prevents any conception of autonomous art. In this way, some images of contemporaneity allude to freedom of expression, ethics, and democracy. Therefore, this study is based on significant artworks that reflect the sociocultural context both inside and outside of Europe and considers the consequences to the reference systems resulting from the dissolution of fine arts criteria––such as the criterion of imitation, fidelity to nature, the ideal of beauty, and harmony. Included in the discussion are contemporary art and the meaning behind the violation of the norms of visual art, characteristic of modernist artists since the 18th century. Through manifestos, movements, and treatises, for example, an attempt is made to bring art closer to a postcolonial society, such as the concept of the “Anthropophagic Manifesto” by Oswald de Andrade. This manifesto was considered to be a break with the values of the European tradition of art, deemed to be a reference to the colonizers of Brazil.