‘Queer Aesthetics’ argues for a mode of aesthetic enunciation based on the ‘promiscuous image.’ It reads Rancière’s theory of the image in the aesthetic regime of the arts as a mechanism of discourse that is central to the process by which Art must distinguish itself as such. The ‘image unbound’ is a symptom of what Rancière describes as the disease of democracy, where all things are equally able to be substituted for one another. As in politics, the egalitarian threat whereby art and life can be confused must be checked through mechanisms of ordering logics that keep things in their place. The essay understands the image as both the function of an ‘order of things’ – but one which fails to contain its excess meaning in a single ‘aesthetic enunciation’ – and it reads a contemporary photo by artist David LaChapelle as demonstrating a queer aesthetic that portrays the promiscuous image of art.
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© borderlands ejournal 2009