Beware of Cutting Down Trees: Contemporary Politics and Aesthetics between Ideal Matriarchal Democracy and Real Patriarchal Dictatorships is the title of the lecture I will be presenting for the Master Lecture Series at the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR), Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. The Director of CFAR, Professor Johnny Golding, will chair the event. The lecture will analyze the mythological role of trees and their relationship to contemporary politics in flux between matriarchy and patriarchy, democracy and dictatorship.
The lecture will take place May 14, 2014, from 3:30pm to 6:00pm, at School of Art Lecture Theatre.
The mediated representations of contemporary protests have increasingly ignored larger thematic and cultural sources of discontent that could be directly connected with money, ideology and class benefits. The mediated focus has been on attempting to present these movements of protest as disconnected and fragmented by painting a picture of disharmonious movements promoting ‘inexplicable causes’ that appear wildly illusory to rational minds: like preserving a way of life, defending landscapes or protecting trees. These are the ‘ridiculed causes’ that, in the contemporary post-society media spin cycle, are pitted against logical interpretations of society in economical terms, old political/ideological frameworks and classist/corporative identities. Nevertheless these logical interpretations are increasingly perceived by large strata of society as devoid of any other criteria of evaluation of human life, society and nature that is not ‘hard cash.’
The talk will analyze, using as a starting point the protests of Gezi Park in Istanbul, the contemporary struggles in quantifying in economical terms the value of a tree and will propose a socially politicized matriarchal interpretation of trees, nature and society as opposed to the short-term economical evaluations of benign patriarchal dictatorships.
Through a fine art / media analysis of trees and contemporary rebellious art, the lecture will question the role of art in contemporary post-capitalistic and post-societal frameworks.