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Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology

Volume 18, Issue 2, 2021

Janez StrehovecOrcid-ID
Pages 55-73

Art State, Art Activism and Expanded Concept of Art

Contemporary post-aesthetic art implies an expanded concept of the work of art that also includes political functions. Beuys’s concept of social sculpture and Marcuse’s idea of society as a work of art can be complemented by Abreu’s project of a musical orchestra as a social ideal (the Venezuelan example of the music and education project El Sistema) and the Neue Slowenische Kunst transnational state formed from the core of art. These concepts are close to the views of Hakim Bey (Temporary Autonomous Zone), with D’Annunzio also touching upon them with his State of Fiume (1919–1920), for which he wrote the constitution and defined music as its central governing principle. Although the art state is a utopian project, art can serve a variety of emancipatory functions even in the dystopian present to intervene in and change the political. In this article, we also discuss the case of art activism in Slovenia, where culture (with many engaged artists) has become a central part of civil society oriented towards social change. Art activism contributes to an expanded concept of the political, which includes new subjects and new forms of antagonisms. Likewise, such repurposing of art emphasises its role in research.