Democracy: a (Non) Artistic Intervention?: Attempts to Perform Democracy through Art

Cruz, Carla. 2015. Democracy: a (Non) Artistic Intervention?: Attempts to Perform Democracy through Art. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

In the light of the contemporary discussions of political theory and philosophy, and current demonstrations regarding democracy, this practice-based research aims to examine the role of art at the dawn of new democratic understandings and practices focusing specifically on the function of the artist as author.

Simultaneously an analysis of current and radical theories around democracy and an exercise of criticality from the practice of art, this project searches for ways of practising, experiencing and understanding democratic values.

The function of the author/artist and its possible re-siting proposes an hypothesis of practising democracy in the ‘artworld’ that stems from my own artistic practice. Following the proposition of diluting oneself as an artist, this thesis hopes to clarify why we believe that art practices can fulfil a leading role in putting into practice new modes of democracy.

The path outlined by my artistic projects selected for this research suggests a move towards not only the redefinition of the role of the artist, but also what constitutes an artistic gesture. The consequences of the disarticulation of the given triangulation of the art world authorship, artwork and spectatorship that gives an art project its coefficient of visibility and ultimate inscription in the realm of art, are at stake in this research. This particularly holds true for the displacement of the function of the author.

I am looking for new understandings of democracy in art practices, the role of the artist, and her function in the respective projects and the different modes of relationality with either engaged or removed publics. The enquiry into these understandings is motivated primarily by my practice.

My conclusion could lead to an understanding of democracy as a series of encounters with the possibility that the question ‘who speaks?’ be of no importance at all, opening up a possibility for a different and perhaps more egalitarian practice and experience of the arts. These conclusions and, subsequently, the types of practice that they might engender can overflow into broader fields and have an effect on different modes of being-together, i.e., the democratic encounter could offer not only a different experience of the arts but also from there be abstracted to a level of experience of other social assemblages.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Democracy, authorship, authority, collaboration, feminist theory, curatorial studies, art practice, political theory, art theory, participation, spectatorship, radical pedagogy, difference, conflict, hegemony, agonism, emancipation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 July 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

05 Aug 2015 14:20

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:11


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