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Buck-Morss (547) considers art as a contemporary construct confined by time and space. The role of art in the contemporary society has been taken over by the “art world”, which is increasingly thriving in this era of globalization. The author asserts that visual culture threatens the existence art during these contemporary times. The thriving of art world indicates the loss of significance of art, which Buck-Morss considers as post-art. Post-art is the art that thrived after the death of actual art. The main argument in the article is that the art world is omnipresent through various multimedia forms, which are increasingly replacing museums and exhibitions because of its cultural universality. Art offers lessons in multicultural appreciation, critiques imperialism, violence against women, torture and genocide, and any developments in the art are a concern to humanity (Buck-Morss 547). In light of this view, the new art world has played a significant role in changing the initial social role of art.
During the 20th century, art played a critical role as a social function that challenged the limits associated with collective imagination. In the past, art was a communication medium that overwhelmed the limits of language. Art was a core element of political resistance that challenged political propaganda. The author questions the effectiveness of the new art world in playing the roles that art played in the course of 20th century. The contemporary art world does not allow the effective integration of art practices into the collective political struggles of humankind to achieve a democratic future (Buck-Morss 548).
Buck-Morss (548) questions Rasheed Araeen’s proposition that true universalism is the solution to the fragmented orientations that have faced creative art in the recent past. The limitation with true universalism is that it is not feasible in a contested worldwide culture, which makes it difficult to integrate artistic practices into the collective struggles of humankind. People hold their belief in equality, but the neoliberal definitions of equality lead to their disillusionment with the concept. The outcome is that people ignore the assumption that history equals progress (Buck-Morss 548). The author uses rhetorical strategies in gaining a deeper insight to the issue. Such strategies include questioning the proposed solutions such as true universalism, and exemplification.
Advancements in internet technologies are imposing a profound effect on artistic practice. Despite this, humanity embraces such technologies because they enhance democratic potential of creative work. Internet increases the value of creative work by facilitating the sharing of such work resulting to creative work being intrinsically socialist. Humanity resists the enticement of wealth and control associated with intellectual property rights. This leads to lack of acceptance of the fact that both the theory and art world face the same isolation from the terrain of political effectiveness (Buck-Morss 548).
Buck-Morss (549) concludes by arguing that conformity of the art world to market strategies is a typical characteristic of the contemporary society; as a result, the author suggests radical cosmopolitanism. This involves taking the responsibility of ensuring global reach of craft to people whose aesthetic experiences are not easily reachable. Radical cosmopolitanism also involves producing crafts for the contemporaries who share time and not traditions; this helps in the creation of a social field that functions without the limits of boundaries. Such a strategy will widen the social field to result in global visibility for all humanity.
From a personal viewpoint, the views presented in the article are practical and can assist in restoring the critical social role that art played in the recent past. I believe that radical cosmopolitanism is an effective strategy of creative work, which is applicable to both theory and art, and has the potential of creating a social field that operates beyond the limits of real and imaginary boundaries.