Session I: Demonstrate
Discussant: Kathryn Mathers

9:15 – 10:45am

Each section of The Art of Emergency engages with a distinct task that the arts are frequently called upon to perform in response to putative crises. Among other assignments in contexts of conflict, artists and program participants are often asked to demonstrate (facts), to distribute (information), and to remediate (relationships). Yet just as violence creates even as it destroys, all of these ostensibly simple actions often instigate much more complex reactions, including outcomes that run counter to the initiators’ original intentions.

“Part One” investigates the tensions inherent to projects designed to demonstrate. “Demonstrate” has three apparently separate meanings: to present evidence, to explicate a process or task, or to participate in public protest. In fact, each of these definitions is a distinct facet of the task of “showing” or “calling attention” to an issue or act. The term “demonstrate” itself demonstrates the persistent and inescapable interweaving of these diverse objectives. In every case, demonstrations are representational, in that they aim to reveal particular truths through evidence; they are pedagogical, in that they aim to transmit knowledge and procedures; and they are motivational, in that they aspire to transform individual acts and social relations. The prioritization, negotiation, and synthesis of these three objectives inherently generate aesthetic and political complications that emerge in the chapters in this section.


Singing After Apartheid: The Musical Aesthetics of Collective Protests in South Africa
Omotayo Jolaosho (University of South Florida)

Covering Emergency: NGO Photographs of Stability in a Space of Ongoing Conflict
Aubrey P. Graham (Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape)

Making a Difference?: The Micropolitics of Musical Strategies Among Malawi’s Volun-Tourists
Ian Copeland (Harvard University)

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