Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Refuse to Refuse: A 1973 revolutionary children’s film invades the present
Friday, January 19, 2024 | Irene Bindi
As 2023 saw the surfacing of a political art seemingly unrecognizable to the art establishment, I’m fascinated by this prioritization of the views of children instead of culturally anointed experts. From posters to music to writing to videos and performance, art led by youth and informed by revolutionary traditions has flooded our phones and public spaces. In a moment when the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher, repeated failures to mention this art of rebellion shamefully fastens the art world to the bankruptcy of a culture whose institutional framework dully refuses to acknowledge Palestinian resistance and existence.In addition to innumerable firings, exclusions, and punishments for being Palestinian or showing solidarity with Palestinians over the past months, we saw a slew of art and cultural institutional disgraces on the subject, from Documenta, to Artforum, to the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, to the Frankfurt Book Fair—exposing a damning slate of deliberate evictions and revocations rooted in outright bigotry, fear, and ultimately, an allegiance to Western foreign policy. To those who would shrug at cultural institutions’ adherence to such policy on the grounds that it’s always been that way—we should ask why an open display of that historical consistency, that long project of normalization, should be felt as less horrific instead of more. It was astounding to read year-end reviews that absented, or bemoaned a lack of, vibrant political art, while failing to mention the final, world-altering months of 2023. But it is precisely because the art world holds art institutions, rather than art, up as social and societal reflectors, that it so often becomes the most flagrant of cultural disappointments. The refusal to acknowledge genocide is justified here through the claim that it is beyond the scope of a given cultural context.