The Politico-Aesthetic Research Centre (PARC) examines how emerges from political thought and aesthetic sensibility. Whereas art is often viewed as a domain of inwardness and subjectivity, political texts and theories are understood as objective and rational analyses of external structures ‘out there’ in the world. The book examines what happens when outward-directed perception and inner-directed introspection become continuous. According to the philosopher Herbert Marcuse even socially progressive ideologies often devalue inwardness: “This scorn for inwardness is not too remote from the scorn of the capitalists for an unprofitable dimension of life.”(1) For Marcuse, art “interrupts codes and structures (as of perception) which affirm the dominant ordering of society, and, second, that art, especially when read as the beautiful, is radically other to a world of oppression and repression, so that its presence fractures that realm’s surfaces.” (2)

PARC aims to publish edited volumes, transcriptions of artists’ conversations with political theorists and critics in symposia and conferences. The first symposium took place at the ‘Painting Politics’ Symposium held at the Auckland Art Gallery, 25-26 July, 2019, please see other pages of this website for archived information on this event. The international symposium was one of the gallery’s most successful events, attracting around 190 attendees each day. The symposium was a test space where there were unexpected encounters between the global and the local that provided contrasts and synergies, translations and important insights concerning ‘self’ and ‘other’.  PARC is interested in the interaction between artistic and political activism in the following areas:-

  1. Māori and Pasifika 
  2. Politico-Aesthetic Theories (including postcolonial theory)
  3. Gender and Sexuality 
  4. Histories
  5. Environment
  6. Cultural diversity

We are currently in the process of preparing an edited volume on painting politics. 

Plans for 2020 include another symposium and exhibition on climate politics, science and aesthetics. 

Contact Associate Professor Greg Minissale for further information on PARC – g.minissale@auckland.ac.nz



1 Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), p. 38
2 Ibid.