As I research and explore these ideas, I am obviously encountering many different definitions of ‘Art’; ideas that range from a form of entertainment and popular aesthetic to something of beauty or emotional power to an inspiring or hope inducing creative invention. It seems important therefore to contextualise my study in terms of my art: Performance poetry. It follows that I am particularly concerned with ideological and political performance within spoken word art, although my performances also use audio tracks and visual displays. Much of my research could be applied to other genres and disciplines, however the context is of specific value. In simple terms, whether my findings and personal opinions are of wider significance to other artists beyond my own creative comments and expressions will depend largely on the intensions of the artist. My intensions are to question and challenge the dominant ideologies of mainstream culture and it is in this context and within this practice that I apply theory. I am therefore not stating that no musician should ever record an album, or that no painter should ever display their art in galleries or produce prints, or indeed that no poet should ever publish an anthology, I am merely asking questions of the paradox. How can political art remain radical or even revolutionary and be for sale? How can an artist who sees consumerism as a mechanism for power and control profit financially from their subversive art?
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