By Carlos Gonzalez Santamaria (alias ''Halle'')
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Extra resources for Cartoon Origami 1
The purpose of this essay, then, is to outline the structural possibilities offered for an oppositional cultural practice at the present moment: to assess the possibilities given within the current conjuncture— which I'll be describing as postmodern—for cultural politics. Part of this argument entails describing why it is that the possible moment of a political and contestatory modernism—or any cultural politics that seeks some ground of autonomy, whether outside the present, outside the commodity, or, arguably, from outside dominant modes of representation—is no longer viable.
Neither of these women assume that the male power to look is such a determinate power as to dictate the meaning and reception of their work. Rather, I think their position is that through engaging with the male gaze and through producing excess rather than prohibition they can throw a wrench into any sort of comfort zone that scopophilic looking affords, and that male looking, in itself, isn't the final word on anything. To engage the male gaze is not automatically to be annihilated or subjected by it.
You don't have to be a lit crit or an art worker these days to be preoccupied with the circulation of signs whose meanings are subject to contestation—you could be Roger Ailes or even the Ayatollah Khomeini. And this should be of particular interest to those engaged in formulating a contestatory culture, as I would argue that any strategy for a cultural-political practice has to take its direction from the structure of which it is a moment (it is provisional), and that what postmodernism has to tell us about oppositional practices is that being ahead of one's time, or avant-garde, is definitely passe.