War on war! Artful weapons in times of war and conflict

Buckley, Bernadette. 2023. War on war! Artful weapons in times of war and conflict. In: Fiana Gantharet; Nolwenn Guibert and Sofia Stolk, eds. Art and Human Rights: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Contemporary Issues. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 165-187. ISBN 9781802208146 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

What power do cultural practices have to respond to emergencies of war. Can they act as active weapons against or within it? To open up this issue, this chapter considers Bertolt Brecht’s life-long struggle to deploy aesthetic methodologies specifically as weapons of, or against, war. It further reflects on how Brecht's work anticipates contemporary practices such as Forensic Architecture's The Battle of Ilovaisk (2019) – a project concerning the capture and detention of Ukrainian volunteer combatants by Russian military and pro-Russian separatists in Ilovaisk, Eastern Ukraine, in 2014. Nearly a century apart, both of these practices, it argues, go beyond any attempt merely to creatively ‘express the immensity of the experience [of war]’ (Brandon, 2007: 4). Instead, they seek to interfere, actively and militantly in war ‘itself’. By deploying ‘truth’ as an aesthetic weapon within war, they seek to shift the very parameters on which war operates, is understood, justified, or indeed overlooked as a form of warfare at all.

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This is a draft chapter. The final version is available in 'Art and Human Rights: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Contemporary Issues' edited by Fiana Gantheret, Nolwenn Guibert and Sofia Stolk, published in 2023, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd


Art's war on war, Bertolt Brecht, Forensic Architecture, Ilovaisk, truth as weapon, aesthetic weapons, Friegsfibel, Fascism before and after war in Ukraine

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18 May 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Sep 2023 09:31

Last Modified:

18 Nov 2023 02:26



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