Larry Clark and Nan Goldin: Towards Structuring the Community of the Excluded in Autobiographical Photography
In the chapter “The Ethical Turn of Aesthetics and Politics” from Jacques Rancière’s book Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics the French philosopher suggests that the “ethical turn” in late capitalism has weakened the political structures of the West and has replaced those structures with a vast “ethical community” that tends to assimilate, ignore or perceive “the excluded” as a threat, as a parasite. Clark’s ‘outlaws’ and Goldin’s ‘Family of Nan’ carry the potential to upset the fabric of this “ethical community” by generating fear, resentment and nostalgia through their ‘morally corrupt’ and ‘physically dangerous’ behaviour and activities. Using Rancière I demonstrate how the formations of communities in the West are strongly influenced by shared beliefs, mutual recognition and affective engagement. For the many similarities that associate Clark and Goldin’s work there are correspondingly many points of departure. However in this paper I turn my focus to the many parallels that connect Clark and Goldin’s work in terms of affect, identification and community. I look at Rancière’s fascinating study of consensus and dissensus in relation to the contemporary “ethical turn” to demonstrate the ways that community is structured through exclusion.
Matthew Ryan Smith. "Larry Clark and Nan Goldin: Towards Structuring the Community of the Excluded in Autobiographical Photography" Underhill Graduate Student Colloquium, Carleton University. Carleton University, Ottawa. Mar. 2012.
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