The Aesthetics of Dictatorship

Mar 15, 2022

2:30pm – 3:30pm CT

Dictatorships frequently use art and culture as propaganda to create cults of personality and maintain legitimacy. The totalitarian aesthetic is familiar to many of us from films and documentaries of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany: tanks driving down wide boulevards; paintings of toiling workers; military uniforms laden with medals; and films depicting past glories. But for billions of people who continue to live under authoritarian regimes, these images and experiences continue to be a part of everyday life. This panel discussion will explore how dictators co-opt cultural institutions, and use dress, art, film, architecture, and other kinds of visual propaganda to impose their vision of society, instill fear, and reinforce their regimes.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Louisa Lim
Louisa Lim

University of Melbourne

photo of Peter Pomerantsev
Peter Pomerantsev

Agora Institute Johns Hopkins University

photo of Alexander Sikorski
Alexander Sikorski

Human Rights Foundation

photo of Krithika Varagur
Krithika Varagur

Fenway Strategies

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