Islands of Freedom

Annual Theme 2018/19

What does freedom in the 21st century mean? Is it liberal or libertarian? Do political freedoms or personal and economic freedoms count most? What value is attached to freedom when neuropsychological debates deny people freedom of will and digital networking develops into total surveillance? And what effect do these debates and developments have on our personal, political and legal self-image? How can it be interpreted when right-wing populists led by resentment increasingly stylize themselves as freedom fighters?

From the Workshop "Kreativität & Perfomanz", Photo: Immanuel Grosser
From the Workshop "Kreativität & Perfomanz", Photo: Immanuel Grosser

Obviously, the course of history does not aim at an ever increasing liberalisation. Rather, we live in times in which algorithms and big data increasingly determine thought and action. So where are we still free? Are art and science still suitable bastions of freedom? And if they were, what figures of thought and options for action do they offer in a struggle for freedom?

As part of the annual theme "Islands of Freedom", the artsprogram and the Center for Cultural Production want to explore these questions. In a series of scientific and artistic events over a period of eight months, the question will be discussed which concepts and conceptions of freedom we (can) operate with today and which roles the arts play in this process. This will be done through two exhibitions, a lecture series, performances, student interventions, lunch talks and concerts, as well as presentations following the art research project "Working Utopias" sponsored by the VW Foundation.

While the two exhibitions in the university exhibition and project space "White Box" by Martina Mächler (CH) and Yoshiaki Kaihatsu (JPN) themselves are conceived as islands of freedom and invite visitors to use them as such and to perform in them themselves, from February 2019 onwards, the international public lecture series "Working Utopias" and "White Box" will be presented in the framework of the international public lecture series.a. Art historians, philosophers, literary scholars, and film scholars will present works that deal decisively with the topic of artistic and political freedom and unfold the most diverse concepts and ideas of freedom through a historical and interdisciplinary perspective.

The program was sponsored by the Baden Württemberg Foundation and the Fränkel Foundation. The project "Working Utopias" was sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Time to decide

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