Hannah Kindler: The Blinded Cyclops or How to Engage With One Another: An exploration of feminist responsibility in artistic practice as means of ethical encounter

Advisor/tutor: Marina Vishmidt
Arnhem, June 2017


What does it mean to act responsibly when encountering another? Can artistic practice support a responsible encounter with another? The following thesis addresses a reality where encounters with others are more often than not shaped by the experience of violence, subordination, hierarchy and exploitation. In the given situation, I therefore intend to consider the politics and ethics of encountering otherness as a form of difference detached from and opposed to, the oppressive nature of imperialist, heteronormative, white-supremacist and capitalist, structures.

Here I turn to the question of responsibility as developed by Judith Butler in her philosophy of ethical violence. I will investigate if responsibility can be thought as an open-ended process of identification and disidentification. Developing Butler’s theory of responsibility in the form of a political and artistic praxis, I will then draw from Amelia Jones’ concept of queer feminist durationality. I will examine this concept from a practical and theoretical perspective through the use of interviews with artists involved in feminist thinking and radical pedagogy. In raising these questions, I aim to update my own practice in order to find methods that resist stories of domination and contribute to destabilising, disrupting and maybe even subverting repressive, heteronormative structures. Further, I consider these themes as relevant beyond my personal artistic practice; especially in the visual realm where bodies and materials function as malleable signifiers. In my mind, in this respect, art plays an important role in moving from binary conceptions of the self towards a more processual understanding.