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FREEquently Asked Questions (Concerning Freedom) (TTTT24)
01 - 31.07.15

Free seminars on • Inner Freedom • Political Freedom • Freedom of Speech • Literature • Philosophy • Art • Law • Economic Freedom • Mindfulness

During the kickoff meeting of The Public School on Wednesday July 1st, we'll examine the question 'What is Freedom?' following the likely named essay by Hannah Arendt which was first published in 1958. Most inspirational philosopher/curator/art critic Sue Spaid will conduct the seminar and relate Hannah Arendt's thoughts to a contemporary society.

Prior to our meeting it is highly recommended to read the text "What is Freedom?" by Hannah Arendt.
Please find the text here



*FREEquently Asked Questions (concerning Freedom)*

Can it be any coincidence that four countries (Canada, USA, France and Belgium), as well as 31 others, celebrate their national days in July? Roughly one in six nations eventually gained their freedom from colonialists, oppressors (larger armies), or occupiers during the dead of summer. In trying to imagine a summer-oriented program to enliven public debate, we found inspiration in centuries of revolutionaries whose impassioned pleas for freedom “won over” their opponents, liberating all from the July heat. While we realize that many freedom-lovers will be experiencing their hard-won vacations (freedom-from-work), we expect enough of us to still be in town to explore new ways to understand our relationship to this illusive value that we call “freedom.”

FREEquently Asked Questions Concerning Freedom? immediately prompts the question… “Freedom from what?” “From who? “Who cares about freedom, so long as we have money to access what we want?” We don’t have ready answers, but we have assembled numerous presenters whose research dovetails with our theme. And none of these approaches are entirely “theoretical”- all are practical, most are political, and some even explore our ordinary relationship to work. Letters in brackets represent countries celebrating their national day.



Wed 1 (CA, VG, BI, KY, HK, RW, SO) 7-9:30 Sue Spaid “Hannah Arendt’s ‘What is Freedom?’: Still Smokin’ Hot?”
Come prepared to discuss the ideas Arendt explored in her still controversial 1960 essay. Of particular interest to curator/philosopher Sue Spaid is the question of whether today’s non-hierarchical, decentered movements, like Occupy or the Umbrella Movement, take their cues from Arendt’s notion of natality. Can there be “movement” without a center? Are decentered movements the only real “polis” remaining today?

Sat 4 (US) 5-7:30 Ronald Van de Sompel “May the Arrogant Not Prevail: On Michael Rakowitz’s Examination of Assaults on Cultural Memory”
Ronald Van de Sompel was associate curator and researcher at M–Museum in Leuven, where he worked on the exhibition Ravaged: Art and Culture in Times of Conflict, including the work of Adel Abdessemed, Emily Jacir, Mona Hatoum, and Michael Rakowitz. For many years he was active as a curator for institutions like M HKA in Antwerp (Belgium) and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead (United Kingdom), amongst others.

Mon 6 (KM, LT, MW) 7-9:30 Philippe Van Cauteren “Invisible Beauty - Irak Pavilion”
After SMAK Artistic Director Philippe Van Cauteren describes what he learned about freedom
while curating the Iraqi Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, he will lead a discussion of unexpected issues, barriers, and constraints that are likely to occur when working with artists from different nations/cultures.

Tue 7 (SB) 7-9:30 Tobias Van Royen “Freelancers and Renumeration”
This class is the opportunity to bring up all your jurisdiction questions about the charter of a freelancer. Tobias Van Royen has been affiliated for many years with Het Kunstenloket, where he conducts one-on-one sessions and public lectures on the legacies of the artist statute, sales and/or exhibition agreements, commissioned artworks, etc.

Thu 9 (AR, PW, SS) 7-9:30 Filip Van Dingenen & Stijn Van Dorpe “…The Freespace: On Art and the Shared Space…”
Visual artists Filip Van Dingenen and Stijn Van Dorpe will discuss an aspect of freedom in their work with a special focus on the joint pilot project ‘Tondelier’ in which they both participate.
Filip Van Dingenen's creative modes can consist of dream-like states, imaginary personages, situations and travels where the artist acts as a flâneur - he has set out to venture into new worlds by producing alternative mindsets. Stijn Van Dorpe examines the relationship between the space art occupies and social realities within the framework of the current neoliberal society. He questions the meaning of creative production and ideology of today and takes a sharp look at alternative models of society.

Sun 12 (N-IRL, STP, KIR) 5-7:30 Steff Coppieters "You may Fetter my Leg, but Zeus himself Cannot Get the better of my Free Will.* Freedom and its Discontents in Greek Thought.
*Epictetus, Discourses, 1
Freedom was a central issue in ancient moral and political philosophy. And, as most textbooks claim, we inherited their notions of freedom and agency. Philosopher Steff Coppieters will point out some discontinuities between the Greeks and "us" on this subject. We'll start with a brief discussion of what constituted being unfree in Athens of the 5th-4th century BCE: Aristotle's ideas about natural slavery will serve as a salutary reminder of the distance (or vicinity?) between "the Greeks" and "us." We'll discuss two figures that will provoke further debate on freedom, necessity, freedom of expression, political freedom etc.

Mon 13 (ME) 7-9:30 Robrecht Vanderbeeken “Free lancers, keep on rockin’ in the free world”
These days, persons considered success stories have typically gained their fame for jobs actually performed by ambitious free lancers, unpaid interns, low-cost global labor, or robots. Some call this the new economy, others consider this totally unsustainable. Come prepared to discuss the revolution of “work” with philosopher Robrecht Vanderbeeken.

Tue 14 (FR) 7-9:30 Jamila Amadou “Je suis Charlie. On artistic freedom”
Join writer, activist Jamila Amadou in a lively discussion concerning the role of freedom in regulating itself.

Wed 22 (BE) Margo Cheveux “Freedom from Fabiola’s Hair!” (TBD-in Brussels)
Every Belgian who closes his/her eyes imagines Fabiola’s fabulous hairdo (ca. 1950), whose stability for over sixty years came to symbolize the “Belgian Dream,” which strives to stultify cultural growth (in defiance of the American Dream); enabling music, Belgian food, art nouveau, surrealist humor, and scarf couture (yesteryear’s collars) to endure six centuries. Hair historian Margo Cheveux’s The Touch of Non-Freedom offers the first analysis of this immigrant queen’s rise to popularity. Fabiola brilliantly exploited her hair style in a manner that affirmed the national impulse to breathe life into its distant past, as witnessed by its crumbling quaint buildings, notorious brocantes, and routine re-enactments of unrecorded historic events.

Thur 30 (VU) 7-9:30 Laura Herman “Strategies of Escape”
Moving from Virgil’s Trojan Horse to Nikolai Fedorov’s Philosophy of the Common Task, and from Benedict Singleton’s Maximum Jailbreak to Hito Steyerl’s escape tutorials, this session will bring a survey of writers, thinkers and artists who have searched for freedom from societal entrapment in many different ways. Bringing together multiples positions, engaging with possible exits from war, the financial crisis, capitalism, and ultimately the earth, it is the aim of this session to inspire debate about possible avenues out of the current Catch-22. Pre-Read Benedict Singleton - Maximum Jailbreak and Alex Williams - Escape Velocities. Laura Herman is a graduate student at the Center for Curatorial Studies at CCS Bard and curator at These Things Take Time.


Sue Spaid, Ph. D., has been active in the artworld as a collector, curator, art writer, university lecturer and museum director since 1984. Her traveling exhibition “Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses, and Abandoned Lots,” funded by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award, recently concluded its tour. While Executive Director at the Contemporary Museum, Spaid co-launched "Baltimore Liste," in support of younger artists and galleries, and wrote A Field Guide to Patricia Johanson’s Works: Proposed, Built, Published and Collected to accompany a touring retrospective.
A current contributor to H Art, she is a former member of the artUS Contributors Board. Between 1997 and 2010, she published 54 articles in this LA art publication and 12 in its predecessor ArtText. While Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (1999-2002), she authored the book Ecovention: Current Art to Transform Ecologies that accompanied the 2002 exhibition she co-curated with Amy Lipton. In addition to having written three books on eco-art, she has published over 60 essays in exhibition catalogs or take-away brochures.
As an independent curator, she has organized well over 50 exhibitions for artist-run spaces, university galleries, commercial galleries and museums such as Santa Monica Museum of Art, Armory Center for the Arts, SPACES and the Abington Art Center and Sculpture Park. She has also served as curator of both the Bellevue Art Museum's "Pacific Northwest Annual" (2001) and the Mississippi Museum of Art's Mississippi Invitational (2006). During her “Yes Brainer Tour” (2005-2006), she traveled via car to 38 states presenting “The Gist of Isness” along the way. From 1990-1995, she ran Sue Spaid Fine Art, a scrappy Los Angeles gallery that launched dozens of local artists’ careers.

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tttt@thesethingstaketime.be / Nederkouter 36 - 9000 Ghent / +32 474 75 82 74