December 9, 2010 - Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) - Freedom of Speech in Berlin and Hamburg
December 9, 2010

Freedom of Speech in Berlin and Hamburg

Michel Foucault, anti-racism demonstration, 1972.
© Ullsteinbild Berlin / SIPA, 2010.

Freedom of Speech

Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
December 11, 2010–January 30, 2011
Opening: Friday, December 10, 7 pm

Kunstverein Hamburg
December 18, 2010–March 27, 2011
Opening: Friday, December 17, 7 pm

Act Up, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, Emory Douglas, Lex Drewinski, Maria Eichhorn, Will Eisner, Bob Fitch, Hans Haacke, Abbie Hoffman, Daniel Josefsohn, Sister Corita Kent, Barbara Kruger, Yossi Lemel, George Maciunas, Ian MacKaye, Steven Marcus, Olaf Metzel, Marc Morrel, Bruce Nauman, Dan Perjovschi, Norman Rockwell, Joe Sacco, Gerald Scarfe, Christoph Schlingensief, Klaus Staeck, Taller Popular de Serigrafia, Silke Wagner, Mark Wallinger, Paul Wendling

Curated by Marius Babias, Florian Waldvogel

The exhibition Freedom of Speech questions and analyses the concept of freedom of speech and the ideological role it plays in Western democracies. Everything revolves around the question: What if only those who say the truth are allowed to speak? What consequences does the freedom of expression have for our society? How and where is this freedom instrumentalized? This controversy manifested itself in the cartoon dispute in 2005, when a right-wing Danish daily newspaper published the so-called “Muhammad cartoons.” The ensuing conflict and the Iranian reaction in the form of a “Holocaust cartoon competition” ignited a public discussion concerning the relationship between rights of freedom⎯freedom of speech, of opinion, or of the press⎯and truth. Is it permissible to publish caricatures that knowingly do not correspond to the truth? Which, as in this specific example, reproduce and consolidate racist stereotypes based on purely Western notions and whose truth value can (intentionally) not be tested?

In collaboration with the Duisburg Institute of Linguistic and Social Research (DISS), the truth value of the works are examined by means of critical discourse analysis. This form of analysis developed by DISS on the basis of the theories and writings of Michel Foucault is applied like a foil upon the linguistic and visual levels of the collected media reports and artistic works. That the works of art become objects of analysis is unique in this form, taking account of the fact that they also play an important role in constituting everyday knowledge and therefore also need to be considered. According to Foucault, “modern art reveals the truth in scandalous fashion,” for “art has the ability to give existence a form that breaks with all others, the form of true life.”

The exhibition Freedom of Speech collects examples of media reports (e.g., the “Muhammad caricatures”, or the controversial covers of Hustler, Stern, or Spiegel), historical events (e.g., the Black Power and Free Speech movements in the USA), as well as art works.

Freedom of Speech is a cooperation between Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and Kunstverein Hamburg in collaboration with Duisburg Institute of Linguistic and Social Research (DISS).

In January 2011, a volume of theoretical essays will be published to accompany the exhibition in the series “n.b.k. Discourse” by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne.

Friday, January 21, 2011, 7–10 pm
Symposium (part 1): Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (prof. Gender Studies, Bochum/Berlin), Christiane Ketteler (author, Berlin), Marlene Streeruwitz (writer, Vienna/Berlin), Regina Wamper (political scientist, Duisburg)
In German language

Saturday, January 22, 2011, 2–10 pm
Symposium (part 2): Kunstverein Hamburg
Costas Douzinas (prof. Law, London), Siegfried Jäger (emeritus prof. Linguistics, director DISS, Duisburg), Gabriel Kuhn (author and translator, Stockholm), Jürgen Link (emeritus prof. German Literature, Hattingen), Mirko Tobias Schäfer (ass. prof. New Media & Digital Culture, Utrecht), Stermann & Grissemann (comedians, Vienna)
In German and English language

Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n.b.k.
Chausseestraße 128/129
10115 Berlin, Germany
T +49 30 2807020, F +49 30 2807019

Der Kunstverein, seit 1817.
Klosterwall 23
20095 Hamburg, Germany
T +49 40 32 21 58, F +49 40 32 21 59

Freedom of Speech in Berlin and Hamburg
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)
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