Reclaiming the aesthetic of women: de-colonizing land ownership

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This paper engages with the study of the aesthetic as an embodied form and offers a critique of the study of value and commodification that emerges in the global spatial imagination. I explore the neglected interrelationship between cultural-spatial reconstruction and land ownership as a sign of livelihood by way of a critique of development and through an investigation of the multiple traces of colonialism in Indonesia in contemporary times, after the massacres. First, land is taken from communities to be used for state and corporate industrialization, and then aesthetic acts of resistance and remembrance by members of these communities, via artistic productions and protest, are commoditized as touristic attractions by the state as a form of nationalism and fetishism of the indigenous, and by corporations as a form of corporate cultural responsibility. This new method of capitalist inclusion of the survivor in a globalized project of aestheticizing space is a neoliberal tactic in which the commoditized reappearance of the aesthetic creations of the marginalized is not, in fact, a sign of inclusion but rather of further displacement. My study follows the focus of this special issue to analyse cultural production within the complexity of multiple and converging colonial forms in historical and contemporary contexts considering the relationality, contradictions and incommensurabilities generated within converging structures of colonial and racialized violence. I locate the ways in which artistic projects within this schema may be used as acts of resistance but also possibly co-optation/ domination. Aesthetic creations intended as means of archiving may also bring insurrections into the paradigm of globalization and to its attention. This paper is an attempt to look at how the creative urge negates and also creates the possibility of resistance, inviting us to urgently rethink aesthetic projects and their representation through a genealogy of global participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-569
Number of pages20
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Unfinished death
  • aesthetic
  • archive
  • neoliberalism
  • racialized
  • resistance


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