In 2007 my research group at GRI published an edited book on how risk and threats are perceived and handled in different situations, Organisering kring hot och risk. This book has now been translated to English and published.
Czarniawska, Barbara ed. (2009). Organizing in the Face of Risk and Threat. Edward Elgar Publishing.
My contribution to these two books is a chapter on the aesthetic threat.
“Threats or risks do not necessarily occur only when we are exposed to incidents outside our control, i.e. force majeure. Even insignificant, seemingly controllable and innocent things can form, or develop into, the basis of threatening pictures or a perceived risk, as illustrated by Chapter 9. In contrast to the major threatening pictures described in Chapters 3-8, such as bird flu, hurricanes or collisions, it is my intention in this chapter to describe the threat posed by aesthetic expressions.
This is, in many ways, a constantly current topic, as aesthetic expressions in terms of installations and works of art tend to walk hand in hand with the freedom of opinion that the citizens of western democracies defend. The conflict that may arise when art is perceived as a threat is due to the fact that freedom of opinion in art results in feelings of slander and attacks against individual groups of people. The threat of art is not less real because it has not been preceded or followed by a disaster, as in the examples discussed in the previous chapters. The interpretation and perception of a threat is always in the observer’s eye.”