Aesthetic Evidence: Investigatory Art, Representation, and Post-Truth Politics

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: The Arts

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Aesthetic Evidence

Fall 2021

Taught By: Sophie Landres

Section: AX

CRN: 12076

Credits: 4

Against the backdrop of a post-truth media environment, this course considers the role of evidentiary images and investigatory art. Never before have news sources been so flooded with photoshopped imagery, lies unfaded by contradictory facts, clickbait distractions, and the tactically cynical suggestion that truth is a matter of opinion. An upsurge of investigatory art has proven effective at verifying evidence and holding both perpetrators of injustice and purveyors of disinformation accountable. Contrary to historical assumptions that associate art with illusion, journalistic research, analyses, and displays of evidence have been popular practices within socially-engaged art since the rise of Institutional Critique in the late 1960s. And yet, the ever-present gap between reality and representation remains fraught, complicated further by the increasing veracity of mediating technologies and growing suspicion toward objective truth. We will ask: How does art navigate the complex relationship between a “fact” and its representation in an increasingly virtualized public realm? What happens to truth claims as they shift between journalistic, juridical, and aesthetic contexts? How do political positions regarding fake news and alternative facts come to bear on philosophical positions regarding empirical knowledge and critiques of certainty? Which spaces, bodies, and incidents evade representation and what accounts for their opacity or erasure? What are the ethics of looking and what does it mean to bear witness? Can artifice and fiction still speak truth to power? 

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: The Arts (LARS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 13, 2021 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 21, 2021 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 7:10pm 10/25/2021 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Thursday

Times: 7:00pm - 9:40pm

Building: Eugene Lang 65 W11th

Room: 260

Date Range: 9/2/2021 - 12/16/2021