Freedom

Freedom film still

Freedom is a movie and a publication curated and directed by The Temporary Academy of Arts (Elpida Karaba, Constantinos Hadzinikolaou, Yota Ioannidou, Glykeria Stathopoulou, Despina Zefkili).

The film project Freedom was developed as a research based work, where PAT, explored, shared material and rehearsed different methodologies of documentation, theory writing, filmmaking and performing. The final film product, composed of three parts, it is an attempt for an exhibition display on a film. The first two parts of the triptych draw from documentary, auto-ethnography and diary films- but without clinging to any of their conventions either. The third part of the film, which functions both as a tapis as well as a subversion tool, is a meta-reflective narrative on labour and human (culture) capital in a post-freedom era.

The publication is part of the film Freedom curated by PAT. The publication is considered from us an integral part of the film, a tool that allows you in and out of the film during the viewing process. It is also an autonomous book for the coexistence of three small texts, of different, unidentified genre, on the subject of freedom.

The film project and the publication Freedom are part of the European program Freiraum, organised by Goethe-Institut.

 

Freedom
or Artistic Freedom in the times of cultural policies
(a script scenario for Rosa)

Working in the art field in Greece. Ιn 2013 and already five years into the economic and social crisis, we were under the euphoria of expecting a new, young left government of SYRIZA. We had the aspiration of creating a contemporary agora, an assembly of deliberation, collective experiment, establishment of new artistic strategies, proposed as a creative alternative to the misery of the crisis rethorics that were dominant at the time. The working methods that were devised and adopted created a hype. Visitors from different backgrounds and geographical contexts were expressing their enthusiasm seeing Greece as an example that seemed radical and exotic, proposing a model of collective, novel economy, a ‘total’ way of creative living. That was intensified when the prestigious and established institution of documenta14, announced that the exhibition would take place in Athens and Kassel in 2017, a dislocation that happened for the first time in its history. This event came after the experience of a phase of immobility in the art field, one of the effects of the crisis that have resulted in the confinement in our ‘peripheral role’. Therefore many of us, were more eager to embrace this moment of attention as a possible way out of our predicament.

Did this condition enhance our professional situation, our creative output, our everyday condition, our freedom as subjects?

The years between 2013 to 2017 was a period of creative inflation connected with ideas about, flexibility, creativity, positive informality, enterprenuity, that were promising a different kind of freedom. A new kind of freedom that would produce subjects and articulations that would be resistant and resilient, that could find solutions of exodus to the strict capitalist global condition. However, what has been the typical romanticized perception of artistic work connected to ideas about freedom and autonomy, without the conventions of the 8-hour workday, has been appropriated and repositioned, so that the precarious conditions also present in artistic labour became the blueprint for the globalised working conditions at large.
So, we ask ourselves, is this new model of work any better or resistant?

As for documenta some loose networks were indeed created. However networks are not coalitions of commitment, they are based in an economy of friendship, occasion and opportunity, whereas commitment demands persistence, investment and dedication to certain causes. On the other hand lasting working relations mean that you can become, even for a period of time, involved in the procedures of the institutions, taking part in decision making, thus being able to participate in possible shifts, make coalitions and take part in claiming of rights. Freedom, exhaustion, withdrawal, adjustment.

How free are we on “freedom” project(s)?
What are the limits and semblances of the so-called freedom to articulate, are there visible and implicit constraints?

In the last twenty years more or less, European institutions have shifted their cultural management politics towards strengthening the common values of the European Union. A number of funded programs, from local and EU prestigious institutions, private or extra-state policy making, addressed the cultural sector in order to tackle and normalize the challenging socio-political circumstances critical at the time, the fall of the eastern block, the global South, the migration wave, issues that in the last years have become more urgent, connected to the crisis of democracy, humanitarian and economic crisis and Euro-scepticism. Since many of us depend on such funding for our livelihood, we find ourselves having to deal with the hidden challenges and compromises these projects require.

These projects connote generalized notions of inclusiveness, universality, openness and a romanticized civil society conceptualized in homogenous terms, presupposing common values; freedom, freedom of speech, the existence or production of a non conflictual public space, absolute social meanings that cannot be contested and thus subdue the expression of any kind of conflict, ignoring the fundamental exclusions that constitute the social. Administering towards a civil society which is by definition a unity between rightful citizens and is based on a conception of protecting specific common values, is thus problematic. Freedom and democracy conceived through the idea of a civil society, are “settled” notions. But only the constant negotiation of freedom can set us free. Not one public space, not one freedom exists.

Is it possible to negotiate through loose networks of opportunity or do we need firmer alliances, coalitions of commitment?

Through working on flexible, short term, precarious conditions, collaborating with private institutions or the academy, we have indeed developed a certain set of skills in addition to our educational capital. These skills however are scattered, not recognised officially as professional experience since most of the times, there are no contracts, no long-term employment, no social benefits. Consumable human capital in the labour market, a condition that we constantly reproduce throughout our practice. Nevertheless we are not factory workers, not traditional working class. But how can we define our class in the present condition? Is precarity and gender enough to ally with the working class?

We remind ourselves that projects with generalised, sweeping humanitarianism still trace a road to hell paved with good intentions. Many socially engaged art practices and products initiated and supervised by cultural policy institutions end up in ineffective proclamations of awakening and superficial identification with ‘unprivileged subjects’. Ideas spanning from bigmouth philanthropy to activism, homogenised under a common benevolent artistic vocabulary are heard louder than those questioning the actual material conditions defining class consciousness. This sweeping creative privilege, by even bringing together unconditional subjects, practices and ways of living, ends up disempowering rather than empowering, underrating the conflicts that exist in the social. Different ‘creative’ self-centered subjects, usually attracted to socially engaged practices, fantasize themselves as the benjaminian ‘angels of history’. It is through the implicit function of cultural policies that the immanence and reproduction of society and the essentialisms of the art field is performed, becoming more and more sophisticated and persistent.
Cultural Policies. A field for Detournement.

Το κινηματογραφικό πρότζεκτ Freedom είναι μέρος του ευρωπαϊκού προγράμματος Freiraum, που οργανώθηκε από το Goethe-Institut.

Την ταινία επιμελήθηκε και σκηνοθέτησε η Προσωρινή Ακαδημία Τεχνών (ΠΑΤ) – Δέσποινα Ζευκιλή, Γιώτα Ιωαννίδου, Ελπίδα Καραμπά, Γλυκερία Σταθοπούλου και Κωνσταντίνος Χατζηνικολάου. Η ΠΑΤ εργάστηκε ερευνητικά, συνομίλησε με καλλιτέχνες, ερευνητές, ιστορικούς, διοργάνωσε εργαστήρια, έκανε ένα οδοιπορικό στη Σλοβακία, τα  μέλη της μοιράστηκαν υλικό και δοκίμασαν διαφορετικές μεθοδολογίες τεκμηρίωσης, γραφής θεωρίας, κινηματογράφησης, ερμηνείας και περφόρμανς.

Το τελικό προϊόν της ταινίας, που αποτελείται από τρία μέρη, είναι μια προσπάθεια για μια ταινία-έκθεση στην κινηματογραφική οθόνη. Τα δύο πρώτα μέρη του τρίπτυχου αντλούν από το ντοκιμαντέρ, την αυτο-εθνογραφία (ως ανοιχτή μορφή προσωπικού στοχασμού) και τις ταινίες ημερολόγιο – χωρίς όμως να προσκολλώνται σε καμία από τις συμβάσεις τους.

Το τρίπτυχο της ταινίας συνδέει ομάδες εικόνων που αρχικά φαίνονται να είναι ασύνδετες: μια συνάντηση με μια πρώην εργάτρια σε ένα εγκαταλελειμμένο μοναστήρι, μια αμυδρή αναφορά στον καλλιτέχνη Yves Klein, λήψεις από το σπίτι (το σπίτι ως χώρος ελευθερίας, ως παγίδα), γάντζοι που είναι κρεμασμένοι σε αυτό που αποκαλούμε ελευθερία, που δεν είναι παρά ένα φάντασμα. Το τρίτο μέρος της ταινίας, το οποίο λειτουργεί τόσο ως χαλί όσο και ως εργαλείο ανατροπής, είναι μια αναστοχαστική αφήγηση για την εργασία και το ανθρώπινο (πολιτιστικό) κεφάλαιο στην εποχή της μετα-ελευθερίας.

Η έκδοση είναι μέρος της ταινίας Freedom που επιμελείται η ΠΑΤ. Θεωρείται αναπόσπαστο μέρος της ταινίας, ένα εργαλείο που σου επιτρέπει να μπεις και να βγεις από την ταινία κατά τη διάρκεια της θέασής της. Είναι παράλληλα και μια αυτόνομη έκδοση για την συνύπαρξη τριών μικρών κειμένων, διαφορετικών, μη προσδιορισμένων ειδών (genres), πάνω στο θέμα της ελευθερίας.

Το κινηματογραφικό πρότζεκτ και η έκδοση Freedom είναι μέρος του ευρωπαϊκού προγράμματος Freiraum, που οργανώθηκε από το Goethe-Institut.