Contemporary Art, Political Mobilization, Science Communication?- DRAFT UNDER PUBLISHING
Science communication increasingly employs novel media formats based on visual media and contemporary art. These novel media formats also intervene in political discourses, situate actors, confer or contest legitimacy. To inquire about this particular cross-section of art, science, and politics I examine the visual rhetorical, and affective strategies that were used by GMO opponents in Hungary during the years 2005-2015.
How do the anti-GMO images and events I analyze channel political rhetorics, and what other political subtext they have? Through what mechanisms, with what broader ideological layers? Besides the images, I inquire about the production of the images: who made them, within what kind of networked context? Could these events and images be considered science communication, political mobilization, media art?
I triangulate visual methods (content analysis, visual framing analysis, discourse analysis) with focus groups, to examine the visual rhetorical and affective strategies that were used by GMO opponents in Hungary, who tried to adopt the format of image events, a form of tactical media.
I conclude that these local image events staged visual political rhetorics- defining and situating actors and conferring meanings primarily related to Hungarian political discourse. Since the lay public only has vague ideas about what GMOs are, they easily became a symbol for much broader and ideologically charged concepts. The image events further cemented these associations and channeled GMO discourse towards morally imbued frames.
The political work of affiliation, identification was contained within the affective register, and possibly the public also reacted affectively to the confusion and condescension inherent. Overall, I conclude that these events were public rituals, affirming the collective social and symbolic order of their creators.