Art has not taken the place of an absent or distant politics. Instead, politics and art are both engaged in providing an opening in the consensus that there is only one reality, one space, one time: the space-time of the market.

On the one hand, political argumentation for Ranciere belongs to a domain where the setting, dialogues, and even the cast of characters—who “counts,” who is recognized as a legitimate participant in the discussion—are not given in advance. Both the terms of the argument and the scene where politics takes place must be produced, invented. We are here squarely in the realm of the aesthetic: the system of forms that governs what is seeable or sayable—the world, in other words, of perception. On the other hand, Ranciere’s thinking grants to art a kind of revitalized energy and potential for the new; art is given much the same power Ranciere has granted elsewhere to politics: that of reframing, and thus expanding, what can be perceived in the present. Both art and politics reconfigure what is thinkable at a given moment.

Politics are only made possible by the reality that people are ineradicably different from one another. This entails that individuals all embody and live fundamentally different histories, stakes, investments, aesthetics, materialities, and ethics. This also means that to engage in something politically, in artistic practice or otherwise, is to not allow for these radical differences and disagreements to simply coexist in a placid pluralism, but rather to produce spaces and times in which they can conflict and engage with one another in a nonsuperficial way.
It was not his purpose to detain hundreds of children in Australia for an average of 349 days at the cost of their mental health. It was a consequence. It was not his purpose to transfer 200 children to Nauru where workers have documented systemic abuse. It was a consequence.
Modern art is made against the natural gift. It does not develop “human potential” but annuls it. It operates not by expansion but by reduction. Indeed, a genuine political transformation cannot be achieved according to the same logic of talent, effort, and competition on which the current market economy is based, but only by metanoia and kenosis—by a U-turn against the movement of progress, a U-turn against the pressure of upward mobility. Only in this way can we escape the pressure of our own gifts and talents, which enslaves and exhausts us by pushing us to climb one mountain after another. Only if we learn to aestheticize the lack of gifts as well as the presence of gifts, and thus not differentiate between victory and failure, do we escape the theoretical blockage that endangers contemporary art activism.
Hannah Arendt, the German-American political theorist and subject of a recent film, noted the importance of language for disclosing reality in which certain thoughts and actions were made possible. Words do not just convey information about our intentions, but reveal and create the reality in which we act and think. Language enables us to think and engage in the world with others in creative and new ways. A limited language, however, limits these possibilities of thinking, especially from the perspective of others.
Say nothing at all and there is nothing to translate.
You cannot extrapolate Australia’s approach to the rest of the world because, if that was the case, you would spend an enormous amount of resources on moving people from one country to the next and keeping them in limbo
The high-minded values of genuine commons-based production should not be confused with the user exploitation inherent in the practices of a company like Airbnb, which is not concerned with the fact that hosts who are rent-subsidized can be evicted on the grounds that they obviously did not need all that extra space. And do we really want to wave our lighters through the dark evening skies for the newly gained ability not to buy a table anymore but just get the parts and assemble it ourselves?