A project by Jonas Staal
Art, censorship and freedom of expression… these topics are as urgent today as they were in 2008 when the first Freethinkers’ Space was opened by the liberal-conservative Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the extreme nationalist Freedom Party (PVV). In their offices in The Hague they created a space for art that had been affected by Islamic censorship. In the Summer of 2011, after the VVD entered into the coalition government, the original space was silently closed.
The exhibition Art, Property of Politics IV: Freethinkers' Space Continued, which opens on Saturday 15 September, will showcase a reproduction of the original Freethinkers’ Space made by artist Jonas Staal, as well as two new spaces, curated by politicians Jesse Klaver, member of the national GroenLinks (GreenLeft) party, and Rogier Verkroost, member of D66 (Democrats 66) party, in Eindhoven.
Two new Freethinkers’ Spaces
When Rogier Verkroost and Jesse Klaver learnt that Staal’s Freethinkers’ Space had been purchased by the Van Abbemuseum as part of a project by artist Jonas Staal, they suggested it should be reopened. Staal and the museum then worked with the politicians to create two new Freethinkers’ Spaces.
In his presentation “No Popular Culture without Frayed Edges”, Verkroost searches for censorship in popular culture. In his opinion, this is devastating for creativity and stops new trends.
In his space, Jesse Klaver shows that he does not want freedom of expression to be restricted to political colours or religious beliefs. He believes such a Freethinkers’ Space should be accessible for all: “The Netherlands as Freethinkers’ Space”.
Saturday 15 September
14:30 – 18:00 Opening exhibition spaces (free entrance)
18:00 – 18:10 Introduction by the moderator, Steven ten Thije
18:10 – 18:20 Introduction by Jonas Staal
18:20 – 18:40 Freethinkers’ Lecture Rogier Verkroost
18:40 – 19:00 Freethinkers’ Lecture Jesse Klaver
19:00 – 19:10 Reaction cultural historian Thomas von der Dunk
19:10 – 19:40 Debate between Verkoost, Klaver, Von der Dunk, Jonas Staal
19:40 – 19:55 Questions by the public
19:55 – 20:00 Closure by moderator
(Lectures and discussion in Dutch with English translation available)