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Fiona Siegenthaler: Provocation, Resistance, and the Arts of Persuasion
Provocation, Resistance, and the Arts of Persuasion
(p. 175 – 198)

Fiona Siegenthaler

Provocation, Resistance, and the Arts of Persuasion
Between the Rhetoric of “No” and “No” to Rhetoric in Challenging Socio-political Settings

PDF, 24 pages

  • rhetoric / elocution
  • politics
  • resistance
  • artistic practice
  • global ecology
  • contemporary art

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Fiona Siegenthaler

Fiona Siegenthaler is a researcher in the interdisciplinary field of contemporary (African) art, performance, and visual culture. Following her PhD (2012) on Imageries of Johannesburg. Visual Arts and Spatial Practices in a Transforming City, she was an Assistant Professor at the chair for Social Anthropology at the University of Basel (2012–2018) and the coordinator of the research project Art/Articulation: Art and the Formation of Social Space in African Cities, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2015–2019). In the framework of this project, she conducted post-doctoral research on the relationship between art practice and social space in Kampala, Uganda, followed by a Fulbright Visiting Scholarship in 2018 at Columbia University, New York. She is a Research Associate at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel—where she also lectures at the Institute for Art History—and at the Visual Identities, Art, and Design Research Center at the University of Johannesburg. She is a board member of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) and a founding member of the Research Network of the Center for African Studies. She has published widely, including co-edited special issues of Critical Interventions, Social Dynamics, Visual Anthropological Review, Papers on Political Transformations, Tsantsa, and contributions in various edited volumes as well as journals including African Arts, Research in African Literatures and Critical Arts.
Sara Alonso Gómez (ed.), Isabel J. Piniella Grillet (ed.), ...: NO Rhetoric(s)

This volume maps some of the territories where points of resistance can be located and where art’s resistant potential becomes relevant once again. "NO Rhetoric(s): Versions and Subversions of Resistance in Contemporary Global Art" focuses on a neuralgic issue which was intensely debated during the last three decades, but has rarely become a topic of its own. It offers an updated way which art presents itself as an agent of resistance, whether in a mere rhetorical stance or as an effective critical strategy. In the face of general discourse of revolt and insurrection that is highly fashionable today, it is necessary to ask whether the gesture of ‘negation’ still yields an emancipatory potential. Struggling between NO rhetoric and NO to rhetoric, the artistic and the political field permanently interfere with each other; sometimes they merely overlap, while at other moments they strongly insist on demarcating themselves. Nonetheless it remains to be seen more precisely of what their respective critical forces and agonality consist. In this sense, the book contributes to a deeper understanding of the different logics of resistance at play between art and the political, as expressed by Jacques Rancière in his distinction between “the politics of the becoming-life of art and the politics of the resistant form.”


This volume provides a diverse array of voices and essays from the academic and artistic field that present theoretical approaches as well as study cases. By juxtaposing them, it encompasses both the complexity and diversity of artistic practices within a global instituting framework that seems to capitalize on different political streams. The reader will find contributions on sexual dissidence, ecology and the Anthropocene, geopolitics of the digital age and institutional critique. The authors, artists and scholars from different disciplines share their desire to shed some light on how art approaches these urgent issues.


Contributors: Sara Alonso Gómez, Mieke Bal, Zach Blas, Katharina Brandl, Nancy Garín, Kendell Geers, Ben Grosser and Geert Lovink, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Federico Luisetti, Charlotte Matter, Isabel J. Piniella Grillet, Nadia Radwan, Fiona Siegenthaler, David Tenorio, and Jaime Vindel.