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Places and forms of power: to what extent art can be effective means to denounce social realities?

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Par   •  15 Avril 2017  •  TD  •  428 Mots (2 Pages)  •  3 240 Vues

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English oral final session

I'm going to deal with the notion places and forms of power. First let me quickly define this notion: Power is the ability to influence the behavior of people. Whether they have to face the authoritarianism of a dictatorship or may live in the most democratic conditions members of a community must accept to abide by rules and laws imposed by the power.

Meanwhile campaigns for freedom, human rights or social movements lead by counter-powers often try to challenge authority.

Although visual art is associated with the expression of human creativity and entertainment cinema and graffiti have been formidable and redoubtable forms of counterpower for many decades.

So now, we may wonder to what extent art can be an effective means to denounce social realities? To answer this question, we will focus on how two contemporary artists Ken Loach and Banski have embraced respectively cinema and graffiti to convey their messages.

Firstly, we will speak about Ken Loach. This talented English director of television and independent film is known for his socially critical directing style and for his socialist ideals. Loach offers a realistic and humanistic treatment of social issues such as poverty, homelessness, or labor rights.

In one of his most famous movies Angels’ share Loach combines comedy with politics denouncing the reality of two-tier society. In Angels’ share whisky appears to link youth unemployment, despair and humour staging the funniest moments as well as hopelessness and frustration.

If Loach has established himself as an impact film maker and has proposed an eloquent unbiased and moving picture of the treatment of the poor and the widening gap between social classes never has he used cynicism nor bitterness.

Secondly, we will speak about Banksy’s committed art. Banksy is an anonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist, and film director of unverified identity. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. Banksy's works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.

We will focus on one of his 2014 creation located in Melthenham in England. The artwork depicts three men dressed as special investigators and using listening devices to spy on a telephone box. Moreover, the place he chose – GCHQ - is highly emblematic. Thanks to this graffiti, Banksy wants people to understand how intrusive the state can be keeping an eye on its citizens’ every move.

The more authoritarian the English government is, the more socially engaged artists like Ken Loach and Banksy will be for our greatest pleasure.


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