How to understand propaganda art in the post-truth era—and how to create a new kind of emancipatory propaganda art. Propaganda art — whether a depiction of joyous workers in the style of socialist realism or a film directed by Steve Bannon — delivers a message. In Propaganda Art in the 21st Century (MIT Press, 2019), Jonas Staal argues that propaganda does not merely make a political point; it aims to construct reality itself. Political regimes have shaped our world according to their interests and ideology; today, popular mass movements push back by constructing other worlds with their own propaganda.
Jonas Staal speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about his proposal for a new model of emancipatory propaganda art — one that acknowledges the relationship between art and power and takes both an aesthetic and a political position in the practice of world-making.
Jonas Staal is a scholar of propaganda and a self-described propaganda artist. He is the founder of the artistic and political organization New World Summit (2012–ongoing) and the campaign New Unions (2016–ongoing). With BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, he co-founded the New World Academy (2013–16). His most recent project Collectivize Facebook exploring legal ways to return the ownership of data in its many forms to the collective ownership of the users of software platforms.
Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemprary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.