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Comunicar Journal 57: Artivism: Art and Social Engagement in a Digital World (Vol. 26 - 2018)

Video artivism: The poetics of symbolic conflict


Concha Mateos

Ana Sedeño


The relationship between signs and human action is one of the most widely studied theories in art and communications. Humans are constantly producing new discourse and new discursive devices and the issue of the relationship between signs / action not only remains open, but is branching off and forming hybrids with other matters. This work explores one of its branches. We performed theoretical research on the foundations of video artivism, with the aim of achieving a conceptual definition. Firstly, the purpose of the study is defined and the historical background and basic sources of influence described in order to trace a map of its fields of application in teaching practices and empirical research. The results therefore come from a bibliographic review of academic as well as artistic and activist sources, which were based on sections of the differentiating features they respectively recognize and self-recognize as artivist. Six identified features are described: the intervention function, the hybrid code, against domination, disruption, disavowal and subversion, which are aimed at establishing processes, procedures, subjects and the specific forms in which artivism has an impact on society. The article also refers to selected cases as a conceptual sample of the theoretical assumptions made and to describe their capacity of transformation.


Art, critical thinking, political theory, new media, audiovisual activism, audiovisual art, protest movements, audiovisual creation