Beyond geopower: earthly and anthropic geopolitics in The Great Game by War Boutique
Ingram, Alan and Forsyth, Isla and Gauld, Nicola (2016) Beyond geopower: earthly and anthropic geopolitics in The Great Game by War Boutique. Cultural Geographies . ISSN 1474-4740
This article reconsiders the nature of art and geopolitics and their interrelations via a discussion of The Great Game, an artwork by War Boutique dealing with successive British military interventions in Afghanistan. As we discuss, The Great Game is richly suggestive in terms of the earthly materials and forces at work in geopolitics, as well as the roles played by objects and technology. The main goal of our discussion, however, is to show how pursuing such concerns leads us back towards a consideration of the ideational, the human and the representational and the roles they play in art and in geopolitics. We argue that framing art in terms of the earthly, the affective and the inhuman is suggestive but misses too much of what art is otherwise taken to be and to do, sometimes even within accounts framed in earthly terms. Because we are initially responding to the work rather than seeking to explicate it, we first provide an extended discussion of the The Great Game, in which we consider how it entangles earthly and anthropic dimensions of geopolitics. We then bring this discussion back to bear on academic work that rethinks geopolitics and art in earthly, inhuman, nonrepresentational and affective terms. Third, we discuss how our understanding of art and geopolitics is enhanced by reflection on what makes artistic engagements with geopolitics artistic, considering how The Great Game has moved through a series of artworlds. In conclusion, we underscore the extent to which art is suggestive as an onto-epistemological form of inquiry into geopolitics as well as an aesthetic-political practice with regard to it.
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