[artinfo] symposium in vienna: the price of liberty

f, ft@gewi.kfunigraz.ac.at
Mon, 12 Feb 2001 23:03:59 +0100

The Price of Liberty
On the political economy of censorship

Symposium, curated by Helmut Draxler und Hedwig Saxenhuber
Secession, Vienna, 23 - 25 February 2001

Details: http://www.secession.at/symposium/

Although censorship as a state institution seems largely to have disappeared=
 in the neo-liberal structure of the world, it has indeed survived not only=
 as a buzz word: this is evident in the discussions about cutbacks in public=
 funding for institutions critical of the government, just as it is evident=
 in controversies involving anti-Semitic and pornographic web sites. Thus=
 there are various practices for regulating the public sphere, which may be=
 assembled under
the term censorship. Yet these practices can no longer be circumvented with=
 unambiguously moral valuations - "good" freedom versus "evil" censorship.=
 The major revisionist debates of the past two decades in particular, which=
 the New Right have set off, show the great extent to which the political=
 "keys" of freedom and oppression have changed, and that these terms cannot=
 be discussed apart from political contents. So which oppression is opposed=
 in the name of which freedom and truth?

The Secession, programmatically dedicated to the freedom of art, has lost=
 the final appeal against a lawsuit brought against them by an FP=D6=
 politician because of a picture by Otto M=FChl. In addition to this=
 concrete reason, the symposium "The Price of Freedom" is intended to=
 address legal and economic intimidation policies in the context of the=
 right-wing "Kulturkampf" on the one hand, and on the other to formulate=
 political positions in the controversies surrounding censorship. Starting=
 from the question of how claims for freedom and prohibitive
actions are negotiated within quickly changing regimes of truth and policies=
 of visibility, concrete options for action are to be reflected without=
 recourse to moral indignation. This will focus on anti-national=
 perspectives, since a great deal of implicit complicity between=
 social-democratic, "josefinist" and right-wing cultural policies may be=
 discerned particularly in the construction of a specifically Austrian=
 "cultural nation." The consequent difficulties and ambivalences still=
 characterize the debates of "cultural resistance" between or beyond boycott=
 and normalization after a year of black-blue government.