One of the significant roles or art is to articulate a vision that is insightful but with consequences. As if that is not enough, one can quickly analyze such vision and insight. Considering this reality, we can ask ourselves the vision articulated through art can be seen from a political science point of view. We can also think of the knowledge that comes from analyzing the world through concept of art as well as what viewers or readers can do with the same expertise. In other words, can art affect politics and knowledge? And how can this knowledge be used for the good or otherwise bad of the human being?
There have been many pieces of researches aimed at the application and methodological approaches to art in political arts and analysis. Other social inquiries require different methodological approaches, but such methods may not have the necessary intensity for uncovering artistic meanings. The use of aesthetic sources that express creativity and imagination creates an environment for the return to ‘the political.’ In this case, the power and significance of what can be termed as sensible, imaginary are restored in a political sphere.
When one is analyzing the study of politics, many times in their approaches, they need to be aware of their individual subject positions and how they differ from other’s. This of necessity means, many writing or artworks related to politics cannot be analyzed from the first-person narrative. We can never think of any text or painting without first thinking about its creator. Every approach one takes must be aimed at producing a comprehensive feedback base on the background of the writer. This does not mean that approaches with the ‘I’ point of view cannot be used. Many are qualitative, interpretive, and episodic. They are limited to the subject, but they produce knowledge nonetheless.
Art brings out the discursive frames that create political unfolding. Its effects can go as far as creating a way to new forms of political activity. Over the centuries, art has been used not only to keep knowledge but to pass a political statement as well. Thus, there is a need to look at every work without privileging a specific way of doing things. To do this may mean marginalization by epistemic downgrading other inquiry approaches; as a result, the knowledge acquired can only be limited.
Many experts look at the analysis of art and politics as pluralistic and multidisciplinary, a process that can be achieved through many forms. For instance, since the 1980s, poststructuralism and feminism have always been of the view that art and visual representations should be given a lot of time. From this perspective, many gaps and omissions have been identified based on the theory of the relation. Over time, concerned groups have challenged the established and predominant culture in the general political realm. Besides, these approaches have uncovered many other methods of looking at art and politics borrowed from other disciplines, especially philosophy, anthropology, and sociology.
Images give the observer clues of contextual ideas. No image stays in total isolation. When looking at an image, an expert can combine what is given in the picture with the knowledge found in the sources behind the said image. Consider Nick Ut’s photograph “Accidental Napalm,” which depicts a subject that suffers from “napalm burns on her back and arm.” These burns cannon be seen from the image, meaning such an interpretation requires additional information. How far one goes with the interpretation is open to debate and depends on the clues in the context. For critics, it is not about what the image tells, but what it does not tell based on contextual clues. However, an image like the one mentioned above will always have different effects on different viewers. Some will say it is about a particularly bad political era, while others may think of from a war point of view.
While many argue that images should be analyzed on their own terms, it is impossible to eliminate words; there is a need to use language in any form of analysis. The aim here is always to translate what is seen into what is said. Therefore, we have approaches to the study of images coming from discourse analysis. The experience of images in particular is different to every individual according to their larger discursive formations.
When analyzing politics through visual arts, one of the most critical points of investigations relates to what is seen in what is known. We can only know what we see is some language, which is a pivotal point in seeing just about anything. Through language, we can get the knowledge that images are capable of generating. The viewer will say or write their translations based on what they see. To achieve this, one must first understand the general relationship between images and words. It is inevitable to address images through language, which means images cannot stand on their own without language.
Even though words are a critical aspect of interpreting images, it is vital to reflect on how they are used all the same. Whether a statement is communicated visually or otherwise, sociology demands we first question the source. The question “says who?” is essential because concrete individuals or groups define reality through what they see and know. In this case, the relationship between words and images is no merely the meaning of a vision given by words. In a scenario where an illustration is captioned, both the text and the image are equally important. Their relation is seen to be of mutual critique. Other authors argue that words cannot be translated into pictures and vise versa. This then means when you write of talk about images, you can never adequately tell what you see; you will be forming something new, just like the case of any other translation.
Images carry very many meanings that can translate into many interpretations. In the world of politics, a single image can create many different meanings, all open to debates. In other words, paintings impart political knowledge in people, which can be seen in terms of discursive engagement.
Mar 10, 2020