Skip to main content

Session 13 (December 7) Arts, objects and Law

This session explores the representation in art of physical objects as well as of the spiritual, the ideational, the sublime.  This process of materialization, is both inherent to the artistic process and to the production of law.  

Published onSep 22, 2023
Session 13 (December 7) Arts, objects and Law
history

You're viewing an older Release (#3) of this Pub.

  • This Release (#3) was created on Sep 22, 2023 ()
  • The latest Release (#4) was created on Dec 02, 2023 ().

Arts, objects and Law

In this session we would like to explore the representation in art of physical objects as well as of the spiritual, the ideational, the sublime.  This process of materialization, is both inherent to the artistic process and to the production of law.  We are hoping the images included below will spark a conversation regarding this parallel. 

Among the topics we pondered while preparing this session are the ways in which objects in paintings or installations frame and contribute to frame social relations of individuals and at the same time are the product of social relations (although not always peaceful or equal).  In addition, the time period when the piece of art is created not only foregrounds its socioeconomic characteristics but also the law that frames and determines them.  For example, the selected paintings from the Dutch Golden age (one of the great cultural periods that overlaps with mercantile and legal periods of interest to many of us).  This is the time of Grotius, Hugo de Groot.  Indeed, if you go to the Rijksmuseum, in one of core displays among all the art, is the book chest in which Grotius is thought to have been smuggled out of prison after falling on the wrong side of the authorities in debates about religion and tolerance. Grotius is a contemporary of Vermeer, and of the Golden Age, which evokes the constitutive role of law, here of the law of nations, in the context of the material world, of goods, of power, of people as objects and subjects.  Grotius was very much working with law as it interacts with material contexts including with respect to Dutch sea power and its commercial interests, as well as war and violence.

Another set of issues raised by the images we are proposing has to do with the limits and possibilities of representing, capturing, crystalizing what is miraculous in nature.  What are the legal categories that naturalize the separation between the natural world and society?  Along the same lines, what is the place of the spiritual, the religious, the sublime in law?

Finally, because we have included artistic images, another potential topic to discuss would be how our understanding of what can be appropriated, what can be transacted, what we consider precious is constructed by a myriad of laws, including the laws of property. 

One final clarification is that none of us are experts in aesthetics or art history, these are simply some reflections to open up the discussion.

For seminar materials, see the Globinar Cloud. Please note that readings will be available in the week preceding the event and access is restricted to registered participants only.

  • Laurent de Sutter, Notes on Bruno Latour's Metaphysics of Law. In: Kyle McGee, Latour and the Passage of Law, 2016 (excerpts)

  • Salvage Art Institute, WE NOW ENCLOSE HEREWITH PROOF OF LOSS (document)

To register, please use this link

For more news and information please also consider following us on Twitter

Comments
0
comment
No comments here
Why not start the discussion?