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Art, Law, Power: Perspectives on Legality and Resistance in Contemporary Aesthetics


Lucy Finchett-Maddock (Senior Lecturer in Law and Art, University of Sussex)
Eleftheria Lekakis (Senior Lecturer In Media & Communication, University of Sussex)

B & W 229 x 152 mm | Perfect Bound on White w/Matte Laminate | 328 pages | Paperback ISBN 978-1-910761-07-6 | E-book (PDF) ISBN N/A | 28 Februrary 2020

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Art, Law, Power is a timely collection of essays curated to bring together scholarship from critical schools across the humanities and the social sciences. It offers a contemporary snapshot of intellectual and practical engagements with legal and artistic practices in countering power. This edition brings together voices and practitioners from across the globe to tell stories of old and new tactics and strategies found in the coming together of law, art, and power. Art historical understandings of law can be found sitting next to doctrinal depictions of street art and graffiti, philosophical questions of space, community, and autonomy next to cultural and legal ethnographies of control and incarceration. Across all authors there is a singular thread of art, law, and power in end times. The essays will be of interest to critical legal and communications scholars, lawyers, artists, art historians, and activists alike.

Amongst a slew of recent books on arts and activism, Art, Law and Power stands out. Exploring how the affective qualities of the arts interplay with the effective capacities of the law, this collection offers a new, and vitally important, perspective on the field.

— Stephen Duncombe, Co-Director of the Center for Artistic Activism and Professor of Media and Culture, New York University

Protest material, copyrighted media, graffiti are forms of representation often circulated in excess of law and its performative frameworks. Reflecting on the diverse ways in which the legitimacy of law is rendered operative through aesthetics, this timely collection of essays offers important resistance strategies to the enclosing and limiting of public space and popular imaginaries produced by the prevalence of carceral paradigms.

— Adelita Husni-Bey, Artist

This timely collection poses the urgent problem of how power and resistance operate in and through the intersection between law, politics and aesthetics. Joining theoretical reflection to an account of diverse contemporary practices, these essays present the reader with an invaluable resource for navigating the ambivalent functioning of legal distinctions and the aesthetic register in today’s political climate.

— Connal Parsley, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Kent

At a time when so many of modernity’s more affirmative dreams of equality and emancipation are being ground to dust by new and ever more pervasive forms of digital administrative control and micro-disciplinary technology, the confluence of art, law and politics has become increasingly important as a zone of relative autonomy and resistance, and as such, a place of meeting in which, as Gilles Deleuze once observed, new tools can, should and must be forged and reforged constantly to deal with ever changing conditions. In this resonant collection of critical pieces on power, legal process and creative expression, Lucy Finchett-Maddock and Eleftheria Lekakis have collated what is bound to become a vital addition to socio-cultural and critical legal thinking on art, law and activism as forms of mutually affirming resistance in the early 21st century.

— Charlie Blake, Visiting Senior Lecturer in Media Ethics and Digital Culture, University of West London

This is an important book that comes at a crucial time, there is an urgency now, a need in this ‘post-truth’ world to confront and question all that is going on here in the realms of the symbolic; Art, Law and Power provides us with tools to do just that!

— Sally-Anne Gross, Principal Lecturer in Music Business Management, University of Westminster

In this exciting new edited collection Lucy Finchett-Maddock and Eleftheria Lekakis by focusing on the intersections of art, law and power open us to the limits and possibilities of art as a side of resistance. Art, Law, Power is a must read for all those that are interested in the subtle and quotidian ways in which law and politics collude to exclude people across the globe.

— Elena Loizidou, Reader in Law and Political Theory, Birkbeck College

table of contents

– Lucy Finchett-Maddock and Eleftheria Lekakis

1. Artists are Only ‘a Law unto Themselves’
– Micheál O’Connell

2. Voteauction: A Cautionary Tale
– Jeremy Pilcher

3. Consum eHastaMorir: Seventeen Years of Experimenting with the Legal Side of Subvertising
–  Isidro Jiménez Gómez and Mariola Olcina Alvarado

4. Performing Sexuality on the Legal Stage
– Sean Mulcahy

5. Queering the Prison: Communication, Social Justice and the Expression of and the Expression of Genre Subjectivities in the Spanish Prison System
– Virginia Villaplana-Ruiz

6. Leelat Fanzines in Confinement: Cutting Up, Pasting Together, Sketching Out
– María Ángeles Alcántara Sánchez (aka Gelen Jeleton), Marisa Belausteguigoitia Rius, Tania Gisel Tovar Cervantes (Translator: Valerie Leibold)

7. Art Forms and Aesthetic Ordering in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011
– Radwa Othman

8. A Case of Digital Resistance
– Fidèle A Vlavo

9. The Pichadora Girl: Politics of Art Institutions, Legal and Extrajudicial Punishment, and the ‘Pixo’ As a Transgressive Social Practice
– Alexander Araya López

10. Street Art and the Properties of Resistance
– Marta Iljadica

11. Regulating the Image of the City: Art, Law, and Power in the Built Environment of Delhi
Swastee Ranjan

12. Performative Agoras: The Use and Misuse of Public Space
– Daniel Hignell-Tully

13. Twitter as a Space of Resistance to Brexit: Stories of Belonging and the Concept ofAffective Citizenship in #1DayWithoutUs
– Photini Vrikki

14. Everyday Resistances: Walking and Talking the Hostile Environment
– Lizzy Willmington

editors' bios

Lucy Finchett-Maddock is Senior Lecturer in Law and Art at Sussex Law School. Lucy’s work predominantly focuses on the intersection of property within law and resistance, interrogating the spatio-temporality and aesthetics of formal and informal laws, property (squatting and housing), commons, and protest. She is author of monograph Protest, Property and the Commons: Performances of Law and Resistance (Routledge, 2016). Her work also looks to broader questions around the intersection of art and law, resistance, legal and illegal understandings of art, property, aesthetics and politics. She is currently developing an ‘Art/Law Network’ (in collaboration with Sussex’s Art and Law Research Cluster), where artists, activists, lawyers, practitioners, and other such agitators can share their work and ideas, create art projects on law; law projects on art; collaborate on methodological and pedagogical approaches to law, through art; art, through law—and anything else in between.

Eleftheria Lekakis is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of Sussex. Her research interests stem from the intersection of politics, economy and culture, and include topics related to consumer politics and anti-consumerism, as well as digital media, nationalism, and alternative media. Her teaching crosses over such issues including media, development and humanitarianism, as well as global communication and the politics of promotional culture. Her long-titled monograph, Coffee Activism and the Politics of Fair Trade and Ethical Consumption, explores the politics of consumption, cause communication, and civic engagement through the case of the fair trade movement and market. Eleftheria is the curator and editor of GreekDocs (digital archive of independent documentaries about the crisis in Greece) and Re.Framing Activism (digital platform showcasing research, critique, and resources on media activism).

how to cite

Example using Chicago Manual of Style:


Lucy Finchett-Maddock and Eleftheria Lekakis, Art, Law, Power: Perspectives on Legality and Resistance in Contemporary Aesthetics (Oxford: Counterpress 2020).


Finchett-Maddock, Lucy, and Eleftheria Lekakis, eds. Art, Law, Power: Perspectives on Legality and Resistance in Contemporary Aesthetics. Oxford: Counterpress, 2020.