Abstract

In this paper, I consider Bruno Latour in the context of contemporary art. The central claim is Latour works like an artist. But, it is not argued that terms from Latour’s theory can be used to better understand contemporary art. Instead, the claim is that there is an equivalence between the way that Latour works and contemporary art practices. I begin by giving an account of the conditions of art in terms of three categories, all of which are rendered ambiguous through contemporary practice: style/epoch, object, and medium. Next an account is given of Latour’s notable engagement with the art world and with artists. He finds in art a useful mode of inquiry that complements his own engagement with sociological and anthropological analysis. In conclusion, it is claimed that in contemporary artistic practices, historical and discursive distinctions between artistic and philosophical methods begin to blur. This establishes an equivalence between Latour’s practices and those of contemporary artists. In other words, Latour operates just like a contemporary artist, that is, by using strategies to rethink the world, its structures, and relations that are, at heart, aesthetic strategies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-661X
Print ISSN
0028-6087
Pages
pp. 439-461
Launched on MUSE
2016-09-20
Open Access
No
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