Strange Bedfellows: Law, Art and the Crimes of Justice

  • Desmond Manderson, Law, Australian National University
    Online presentation via Zoom (click here to join)

    Thursday, November 5, 5-6:30 pm
    in the series
    Green College Leading Scholars' Series: Building Worlds in Uncertain Times: Power, Culture, Pedagogy
  • You might think law and art, the innovative field in which Desmond Manderson is a global pioneer, are strange bedfellows. Here he takes as his subject Rafael Cauduro’s Crimes of Justice, a vast mural painted on the walls of the Supreme Court of Mexico. Far from images of justice and power that glorify the state, Cauduro’s work depicts with visceral power the criminality of the legal system itself. It is the most searing critique of injustice ever to grace a major court building anywhere in the world. Yet something deeper is at work here. A mural – art on a wall – at the very heart of the legal system. What is a wall for law? A central aspect of the power of the state – dungeons, prisons, detention centres, office blocks – the wall is a technology of confinement and of secrecy. What is a wall for art? A blank slate ripe for representation, protest, anger, refusal. Crimes of Justice binds these themes together in a masterpiece that has to date attracted little critical attention. In this presentation, Desmond Manderson speaks about the violence of law in the world today, and the capacities of art to confront it.

    Presentation by Desmond Manderson of his new book Danse Macabre: Temporalities in the Visual Arts, followed by round-table discussion with Green College Leading Scholars: Julen Etxabe, Law; Vincent Gélinas-Lemaire, French, Hispanic and Italian; Elizabeth Lagresa-González, French, Hispanic and Italian; Patrick Rizzotti, Theatre and Film

    Professor Manderson sets the stage for his November 5th talk with two introductory videos (each approximately 15 minutes in length). You are invited to watch them on the Green College YouTube channel:


    Building Worlds in Uncertain Times: Power, Culture, Pedagogy: Recent events have rocked the ways in which we—as thinkers, creators, educators, humans—move through the world, interact and communicate with others, and envision a sustainable and just future. In response to the uncertainties wrought by evolving relationships with our cities and geographies, climate change, the pandemic, and global calls for racial justice, the 2019-2021 Green College Leading Scholars seek to think together how we understand and represent our lived environments and how to build (toward) a world that is both more equitable and less destructive. We invite you to rethink—with and against us—the relation between arts and space, structures of power, waste societies, pedagogical practices, and what it means to inhabit the world.

    Learn more about the 2019-21 cohort of Leading Scholars, including individual biographies, here:

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  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.


November 5th, 2020 from  5:00 PM to  6:30 PM
Online Lecture via Zoom
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Speaker (new) Desmond Manderson, Law, Australian National University
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