Art's obsession with politics is a problem, even a paradox. The more art there is, the less it shares with the political. Even the radical character of contemporary artistic practices revolves around the idea that there are no alternatives to liberal democracy and capitalist pluralism without risking another dystopia - a paradigm that, in the artistic realm, is articulated as the opposition between modernism and postmodernism.Indeed, with three recent transformations of our understanding; of emancipatory politics; the nature of aesthetics; and the post-Fordist transformation of capitalism, many argue that we overcome the fundamental challenges of aesthetic and political modernities and encounter `things' beyond power relations and beyond aesthetics. However, even at its most creative, art has more in common with hegemony than capitalism. At every hegemonic turn, artwork is directed against itself, only to reinstate another art form in order to continue. This book looks at the problem of hegemony from an aesthetical perspective and argues that there is a `hegemonic trap' pointing us in the direction of the alteration rather than alternative. Julia Svetlichnaja asks: Can art become hegemony? What is proposed is not Paolo Virno's `exit', it is the `exit' from thinking about the `world-making' in terms of alternative. What if instead of searching for alternatives we perform an alteration and pluralise modernism? The aesthetic project of the alteration of hegemony through the pluralisation of modernism does not represent hope for a better, different, political order but a space for problematisation, overlapping and contaminations of a number of social orders. The idea is to think about the world not in terms of `alternatives,' but in terms of their absence.
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