Afterall / 52
Afterall is pleased to present issue 52, ‘New Politics’. We seem to experience yet another version of the discontents of civilisation, paralleled by the search for new political responses. The emergence in recent times of new forms of political claims and demands and the structural inequalities, both at local and global level – exacerbated by the biopolitical governmentality of the past two years and by digitisation – has reshaped the maps of the sayable and unsayable and forms of political expression and organisation. The traditional political apparatus and its vertical organisation are increasingly paralleled if not challenged by a proliferation of voices and their calls for recognition. Art, as the traditional sphere for progressive politics and for the exploration of the political by other means, offers a front seat to observe these dynamics and is in fact one of its main contemporary stages. In this regard, the ‘new’ in the title is perhaps misleading as it might recall, for some, old modernist cries for the search of novelty and progress and constant orientation towards futurity. By new, what the editorial team had in mind is perhaps closer to a certain contemporary structure of affect as a response to what are indeed new types of claims leading to new aesthetic positions and artistic sensibilities.
Afterall is a Research Centre of University of the Arts London, located at Central Saint Martins. Afterall focuses its research activities on the value of contemporary art and its relation to wider society. Its specialist research areas include 'Art Becoming Public', which addresses exhibitions, institutions and what happens when art becomes public and 'The Work of Art', which focuses on researching through the work of art, while interrogating the scope and parameters of this commitment. The research centre works with partners across three continents to deepen this enquiry and make it available through publications, digital access, conferences, screenings and talks.