The Politics and Aesthetics Reading Group 2010


The Institute has joined forces with Lorena Rivero de Beer in starting up an Politics and Aesthetics Reading Group.

The Politics and Aesthetics Reading Group responds to a desire to create a space that supports our effort to read philosophical/political theory outside academic environments and develop our critical thinking. The group is directed to people interested in exploring the complex relationship between art/aesthetics and politics.

Our first session took place on Tuesday 19th January – The Distribution of the Sensible, Jacques Ranciere… trying to be as ‘cool’ as the art world.

For our second session we stayed with the French and tackled The Coming Insurrection by the Invisible Committee. This resulted in a trip to… Lincoln. Being inspired by Tarnac 9 we formed the Liverpool 13. The Institute were commissioned by the Lincoln Art Programme to do something in Lincoln. The Institute passed the commission on to the reading group: the Liverpool 13. As a group, after reading the Coming Insurrection we decided to respond to the Lincoln commission to see what we could muster. Here are some photos from our weekend away.

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After the trip, a rectangle of Lincoln – grass and soil – arrived at the Institute’s doorstep along with a DVD and a map of its original location. We were delighted to receive such a thoughtful gift from the people of Lincoln and we are currently devising an appropriate response.

A Piece of Lincoln to Call Our Very Own

The third reading session took place at the Institute on 23rd March. We all read Reclaim the Game: Boom or Bust by John Reid. LFC has not done too well this season. Maybe they deserve it. Oh well. Dan (Man City fan) persuaded us all to become shareholders of Ebbsfleet United. Come on you Ebbs!!!

From footy we moved back to continental philosophy: Rosi Braidotti and PostsecularismA (video)text that asked what we should do with the moral outrage we feel about the current imperialist war waged by the USA and its mainly European allies on the rest of the world.

For May’s general election the reading group staged a day of reading and actions. This included Lena’s re-reading of an Emmeline Pankhurst speech to her USA sisters almost 100 years ago as well as Ben’s intervention in the local polling station supported by a banner that read ‘If voting changed anything it would be illegal’.

For June we read the ‘Erasing Iraq’ chapter from Naomi Klein‘s Shock Doctrine.

July was Freee Manifesto For a Counter-Hegemonic Art as well as the conversation between Jacques Derrida and Elisabeth Roudinesco ‘In Praise of Psychoanalysis’ from For What Tomorrow book.

September saw us at The Nerve Centre looking at Sentences on Littoral Art by Bruce Barber. This was a public event.

In October we took part in The Cooperative’s event at the Liverpool Biennial. Here we generated an hour’s performance that asked questions about participation in an event run for the Biennial and sponsored by Diesel.

In November the Institute welcomed Maresa MacKeith with Ange Taggart and Caroline MacKeith and discussed some of Maresa’s writings on Inclusion and Vulnerability together with Ernst Bloch‘s writing on The True Architect in The Principle of Hope, Volume 3. The encounter was recorded on a temporary pirate radio station as a part of Homeland a series of transmissions organised by Charlotte Morgan and No Fixed Abode. More information and recordings are available through Disrupt Dominant Frequencies.

In December we read Pierre Bourdieu‘s introduction from Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste.

This concludes the Politics and Aesthetics Reading Group activities for the year 2010.