Looting is direct action par excellence. But it is also a nearly irrecuperable aesthetic gesture against the police, whiteness, and the regime of property that gives those forces power and purpose. In revealing the innately ideological and social content of property ownership, in demonstrating that all that stands between us and plenty is a thin sheet of plate glass, looting destabilizes the ideological hold of whiteness, property, and capital, and it has done so since the enslaved looted themselves singly and en masse from the plantation. —Vicky Osterweil
Diversity of Aesthetics is a multi-volume editorial project started with the goal of facilitating conversations between radical thinkers and cultural workers about artistic production, aesthetics, struggles against racialized capitalism, and revolutionary theory through our shared experiences.
Volume 3 is titled Looting and is a conversation between Saidiya Hartman, Christina Sharpe, Rinaldo Walcott, and Vicky Osterweil. They discuss looting as a modality of Black struggle and a form of contesting whiteness, property, politics, and modes of governance. Looting is discussed via aesthetic theory, but also in the ways it has been and is used by states to protect constituent modes of power and to cultivate Western culture. It is an engagement with centuries of Black radical thought, history, and social movements.