Visual Art: Facilitated Conflict Transformation. Approaches and Limitations of the Instrument
Keywords:empathy, rehumanization, metaphor, conflict transformation
This article provides an analysis of the art approach towards transformation of conflict, suggests a possible application of the method at different stages of the peace-building process, and grounds a conclusion as for the need to review approaches towards the later problem in Ukraine in terms of inclusion of the artistic approaches in the day-to-day conflict transformation routine.
The topicality of the mentioned problem has a special meaning nowadays, considering that the state of Ukraine is apt for new bouleversements. In the circumstances of internal and external turbulence, a conclusion of a new social contract is crucial, but at the same time the current conflict status prevents both individuals, groups, and government institutions from addressing current social problems rationally and in consolidation with the society.
Visual art resonates with a private or collective experience allowing new means of acceptance as well as perceptual rectification and conceptualization of the experience associated with conflict. Central to the idea of conflict transformation is the need to challenge perceived identities and interests that are viewed as threats. In line with this, John Paul Lederach suggested that the framework of conflict transformation should include all levels of human interaction: the level of personality, the level of interpersonal relations, the structural level, and the cultural level. This article suggests the theoretical and methodological analysis of the conflict transformation through the prism of artistic expressions and characterizes their influence on each level of the conflict.
Art does not have the potential to convert evil into good, therefore one may not shuffle off the burden for the existing social reality on to it. At the same time, art obviously assists a person in overcoming tragic feelings, teaches empathy, catharsizes and releases inner tensions. It is this the cathartic influence that we believe is a phenomenon which is one of the cornerstones of the peace-building potential of art in the post-conflict areas. The transformational approach is about looking and seeing, rather than resolving. And the visual art has a potential to set a creative platform that can both tackle issues that cause polarization and alter social structures and relationship patterns which resulted in the break-down.
The forms of contemporary visual art do not solely reflect the reality. They preserve their role as a sort of particular intervention which provides additional dimensions to the social milestone. Thus an observer receives an impulse to determine his/her own position in the dilemma of the surrounding reality. And such self-awareness is the root of all change. As to the extent that our perception of externals is related to a deeper vision of our own natures, to this exact extent our own actions will be changed. And since peace means a change from unpeaceful to peaceful relations, it is the very source of peace.
Manuscript received 17.03.2020
Arnheim, Rudolf. 1975. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Augustinus Sanctus. 1996. Confessiones [Spovid]. Кyiv: Osnovy [in Ukrainian].
Benjamin, Walter. 1936. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media. Harvard University Press.
Bennett, Jill. 2005. Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma and Contemporary Art. Stanford University Press.
Bibler, Vladimir. 2018. Culture. Dialogue of Cultures. Kyiv: Dukh i Litera [in Ukrainian].
Botton, Alain de, and John Armstrong. 2013. Art as Therapy. Phaidon.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1991. The Love of Art: European Art Museums and Their Public. Stanford, CA.
Djuliman, Enver. 2018. Peacebuilding. Signs Along the Way. Kyiv: Ultradruk [in Ukrainian].
Etkind, Alexander. 2016. Crooked sorrow: memory of unburied. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie [in Russian].
Gazzaniga, Michael. 2017. Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain. Moscow: AST [in Russian].
Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich. 2004. Production of Presence: What Meaning Cannot Convey. Stanford University Press.
Heidegger, Martin. 2001. Basic problems of phenomenology. Saint Petersburg: Vysschaya religiozno-philosofskaya shkola [in Russian].
Herman, Amy E. 2016. Visual Intelligence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Husserl, Edmund. 1994. Lectures on phenomenology of internal time consciousness. Moscow: Gnosis [in Russian].
Khrenov, Nikolai. 2007. Public in Culture History. Moscow: Agraf [in Russian].
Kim, Sebastian, Pauline Kollontai, and Sue Yore. 2014. Mediating Peace: Reconciliation through Visual Art, Music and Film. Cambridge Scholar Publishing.
Lederach, John Paul. 2005. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. Oxford University Press.
Lederach, John Paul. 2016. Little Book on Conflict Transformation. Good Books [in Ukrainian].
Lederach, John Paul. 2019. Building Peace. Sustainable peacebuilding in divided societies. Kyiv: Dukh i Litera [in Ukrainian].
McLuhan, Marshall. 2001. War and Peace in the Global Village, design/layout by Quentin Fiore, produced by Jerome Agel; 1st ed. Bantam, NY; reissued by Gingko Press.
Moisi, Dominique. 2018. The Geopolitics of Emotion. Kyiv: Bright Star Publishing [in Ukrainian].
Onyshchenko, Oksana. 2017. Sergei Zakharov: “I wanted to be heard so they would address their destiny differently”. Dzerkalo tyzhnya, March 19. https://zn.ua/columnists/ya-hotel-chtoby-menya-uslyshali-i-hot-nemnogo-po-drugomu-otnosilis-k-svoey-sudbe-242683_.html [in Russian].
Ortega y Gasset, José. 1991. Aesthetics. Philosophy of Culture. Moscow: Iskusstvo [in Russian].
Preble, Duane. 1973. Man creates art creates man. McCutchan Publishing Corp.
Ramachandran, V. S. 2017. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. Moscow: Kariera Press [in Russian].
Tarasova, Daria. 2016. “Dva roky vyhnannia. Yak donetska «Izoliatsiia» prodovzhuie vidkryvaty Ukrainu svitu.” https://espreso.tv/article/2016/06/09/dva_roky_u_vygnanni_yak_donecka_quotizolyaciyaquot_prodovzhuye_vidkryvaty_ukrayinu_svitu [in Ukrainian].
Vygotsky, Lev. 2016. The Psychology of Art. Moscow: Azbuka-Attikus [in Russian].
Zakharov, Serhii. 2016. Dira : Graphic novel. Кyiv: Liuta Sprava [in Ukrainian].
Copyright (c) 2020 Olesya Geraschenko
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a) Author(s) retain copyright under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and adapt the work (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially) with an acknowledgement of the work's attribution.
b) The journal allows the author(s) to hold the copyright without restrictions and allows the author(s) to retain publishing rights without restrictions.
c) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the distribution of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. (See Self-Archiving Policy).
d) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).