Towards a Conceptual Militancy

Towards a Conceptual Militancy

Politicises art with a sense of immediacy.


Towards a Conceptual Militancy is aimed at the interested art-viewing public, artists, the politically disillusioned, and readers of both European Philosophy, particularly of Speculative Realism/OOP, and Accelerationism.
This book calls on the artist to mount a defence of subjective freedom in opposition to the twin objectifying factors of Science and Capital, personified by growing surveillance technology.
Presenting the artistic declaration of freedom as exemplary of how the subject might circumvent its objectification, Towards a Conceptual Militancy brings art back into the social sphere following decades of cultural commodification.


Developing his argument via an array of paradigmatic cases of contemporary political art, Watson reclaims art’s power to defrost the numbness, alienation and endless delay of the decisive moment of struggle imposed on us by various apparatuses of contemporary power and financial capitalism. The comparison of political subjectivity and freedom with Duchamp’s readymade is one of the original insights of the book. Art’s capacity to produce, or, in Watson’s words, to “reclaim our subjectivity through an act of creative imagination”, here and now, points to some potential ways out of the contemporary political and aesthetic impasse. ~ Alexei Penzin (Chto Delat?)

Mike Watson's Towards a Conceptual Militancy asks us to re-examine ourselves and our work as artists and educators and to allow ourselves to become, once again, exhilarated by one another and what we may yet achieve. Watson is at once uncompromising and joyful, a piper rather than a drum major. This book is indispensable for anyone trying to imagine how collective action against the status quo might once again become creative, durable and exciting. ~ David J. Blacker, author, THE FALLING RATE OF LEARNING AND THE NEOLIBERAL ENDGAME and Professor, Philosophy of Education and Director of Legal Studies

Art is on its Arse... Read Mike Watson's book on how to help art get off its Arse. ~ Mark McGowan (aka The Artist Taxi Driver)

This is a significant book on the theme and potential of political art, and its relevance to the left ~ Oliver Ressler, artist, filmmaker

Mike Watson
Mike Watson Mike Watson is an art theorist and curator based in Italy. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from Goldsmiths College and has curated for Nomas Fo...

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