My Talk at Queens U Kingston: Must Be Love On The Brain?: How can we address our simultaneous love of artworks and disgust at the misogynist artists who made them?
I’m speaking at Queens U Kingston as part of the “Against Hungry Listening” series. The talk is February 28th. Here‘s the full text. The gist of the talk is that much of the popular conversation about what to do with art made by abusive artists assumes a logic of purity (which I call a “zero-sum” logic, after Adrian Piper’s use of the term to describe Western aesthetics). There is an ethical and political imperative to purify one’s artistic consumption, tastes, and creative industries from abusive individuals. The problem is that this project eclipses the more fundamental task of addressing the patriarchy (and white supremacy, and ableism, and so on) that is baked into our aesthetic norms and conventions themselves. There is no innocent art, or artists, or spectators/listeners/fans. A better alternative is the “non-zero-sum” approach I identify in several black feminist philosophers’ work. This approach aims not at purity, but at creating what Ashon Crawley calls an “otherwise” — an alternative reality simultaneously with our crappy one, but a reality in which artistic and aesthetic pleasure means more and other than what it means in our reality, structured as it is by systemic oppression.