Inequalities in wealth and opportunity are widening, and yet we do not seem able to imagine any alternative to how our world functions today. Representation is fundamental to modern capitalism – as is economic exploitation. Media, marketing, governments, culture and ordinary citizens alike, use representation – willfully or innocently – to objectify sections of the population, and in turn, objectification seems to be a justification for exploitation. Ideology ensures that we all – consciously or unconsciously – subscribe to this system and that we police its maintenance.
Representation is a key tool in the maintenance of ideology, but conversely it provides a space for challenge. In this section Raquel Carro, Berkin Mika, Sabrina Fuller, Yingguang Guo, Davide Meneghello, Pupak Navabpour, Sirasit Praneenij, Ishita Singh, Jacqui Taylor and Julie Tixier look at how the intertwining of capital, power, society, knowledge and representation shape our lives. They question the political, economic and institutional construction of reality, tentatively exploring the production of a new politics of truth. They encourage people to think and to question the taken-for-granted, everyday world: to change the way that we see ourselves and are seen by others.
The journey to freedom is a long one: there are many ways to arrive. These artists reflect back at us the superficial world of marketing and consumerism – from advertising to the art world; they question binaries and stereotypes; they explore alternative ways of being – utopias and atopias, and question the very nature of scientific progress and its ethical underpinnings. They reclaim histories; they expose hollow practices and customs, and investigate and use desire as a tool to challenge hegemonic normativity. They seek to strengthen or build a language for the expression of different subjectivities: a language that respects and expresses difference; that builds community, that uses creativity and that can communicate meaning. This is a language that can help us to revisit the past, rebuild the present and lay the foundations for a future beyond our imagining.