Research Handbook on Art and Law
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Research Handbook on Art and Law

Edited by Jani McCutcheon and Fiona McGaughey

Featuring international contributions from leading and emerging scholars, this innovative Research Handbook presents a panoramic view of how law sees visual art, and how visual art sees law. It resists the conventional approach to art and law as inherently dissonant – one a discipline preoccupied with rationality, certainty and objectivity; the other a creative enterprise ensconced in the imaginary and inviting multiple, unique and subjective interpretations. Blending these two distinct disciplines, this unique Research Handbook bridges the gap between art and law.
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Chapter 25: Image and art in the Whaling in the Antarctic case

Alice Palmer

Abstract

The parties to the Whaling in the Antarctic case included photographs in their submissions to the International Court of Justice without mention of their purpose. Australia presented photographs of bloody harpooned whales while Japan submitted images of sanitised whale tissue in laboratory settings. The photographs might have been employed as evidence or rhetoric but their significance to the case is unclear. This chapter maintains that a distinction made in aesthetic theory between photographs as records and as representations explains different functions for the images in the proceedings. It undertakes an aesthetic analysis of the photographs as representations, with reference to visual art reflecting social and cultural attitudes towards whales in Australia and Japan, to narrate rhetorical claims. An aesthetic understanding of photographs in international legal proceedings serves to recognise the work of the photographs beyond evidence and to articulate the representations made through graphic images for legal analysis and judicial determination.

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