January 14, 2011 - Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) - Symposium on Freedom of Speech in Berlin and Hamburg
January 14, 2011

Symposium on Freedom of Speech in Berlin and Hamburg

Michel Foucault, anti-racism demonstration, 1972.*

Symposium on Freedom of Speech
Friday, January 21, 2011, 7-10 p.m.
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

Saturday, January 22, 2011, 2-10 p.m.
Kunstverein Hamburg

The exhibition Freedom of Speech questions and analyzes the concept of freedom of speech and the ideological role it plays in Western democracies. Everything revolves around the questions: What if only those who tell the truth were allowed to speak? What consequences does freedom of expression have for our society? The accompanied symposium will discuss the central issues via an interdisciplinary approach.

Friday, January 21, 2011
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

7 p.m.
Welcome by Marius Babias (Neuer Berliner Kunstverein)

7:15 p.m.
I don’t want to hear that kind of language here! Freedom of speech, hate speech and the post-sovereign subject
Lecture by Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Professor of Gender Studies, Bochum/Berlin)

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky refers to Judith Butler’s work on hate speech and shows that in those voices the discourse of free speech derives its persuasive power from the illusory promise to reconstitute a sovereign subject invulnerable to hurt. A subsequent panel discussion will seek to define what a post-sovereign stance might look like in daily (media) practice and discuss the courage it takes for a woman to display it.

8 p.m. 
”Freedom of Speech” from a feminist/queer perspective
Panel discussion with Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky, Marlene Streeruwitz (writer, Vienna/Berlin), Regina Wamper (political scientist, Duisburg). Moderated by Christiane Ketteler (author, Berlin)

Saturday, January 22, 2011
Kunstverein Hamburg

2 p.m.
Welcome by Florian Waldvogel (Kunstverein Hamburg)

2:15 p.m.
Introduction by Regina Wamper (political scientist, Duisburg)

2:30 p.m.
Parrhesia: Daring to speak the truth and the limits of freedom of speech
Lecture by Siegfried Jäger (Professor emeritus of Linguistics, Duisburg)

The last lectures of French philosopher Michel Foucault—which only appeared in German translation in 2008 and 2010 and have thus received scant attention within the world of German academia so far—called for a fresh debate on the much vaunted ideal of freedom of speech to open up a new perspective on this important democratic achievement.

3:30 p.m.
The Legality of the Image
Lecture (in English) by Costas Douzinas (Professor of Law, London)

Modern law has kept a seemingly safe distance from art and has repeatedly claimed that aesthetic questions are beyond its competence and remit, except in extreme cases of blasphemy and obscenity. This talk challenges that view. In the same way that the critique of ideology has demystified our ways of understanding the world, legal iconology deconstructs the complex and historically changing “regimes of visibility”, which are intimately linked with power and normative systems.

4:30 p.m.
Freedom of Opinion and the Counterpublic
Discussion between Gabriel Kuhn (author and translator, Stockholm) and Mirko Tobias Schäfer (assistant professor of New Media & Digital Culture, Utrecht)

The increasing popularity of Twitter and other social media and the release of secret documents on Wikileaks have shaped the idea of new media as emancipatory technologies that challenge traditional power structures. Gabriel Kuhn and Mirko Tobias Schäfer will discuss the implications of new media for civic emancipation and political repression, for freedom of speech and political activism.

5:30 p.m.
Public(ized) Opinion as an Instrument of Normalisation
Lecture by Jürgen Link (Professor emeritus of German Literature, Hattingen)

Prof. Jürgen Link distinguishes between three very different ways of restricting freedom of speech: censorship, manipulation, and normative filtering or mainstreaming of information and opinions. He demonstrates that this kind of mainstreaming is a closed loop that screens out any significant dissent.

9 p.m.
Drooling in the Buttermilk
Talk by Stermann & Grissemann (comedians, Vienna)
The German-Austrian comedy duo Dirk Stermann and Christoph Grissemann will read from their latest book, Drooling in the Buttermilk, a collection of their work of recent years which will be published in January 2011.

*Image above:
© Ullsteinbild Berlin / SIPA, 2010.

Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)
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