What impact has 9/11 had on the visual arts and how do artists depict the post-9/11 world? Often the terrorist attack of 9/11 and its political and military aftermath are interpreted as an appeal to artists to leave their ivory towers and produce politically engaged art dealing with the social impact of the war on terror, as in the abuse of Abu Ghraib prisoners for example, the complicity of the mass media in war propaganda, or the introduction of rigid national immigration policies and the rise of an ‘economy of fear’. On the other hand, Karlheinz Stockhausen called 9/11 ‘the ultimate artwork’. There appears to be a perpetual fascination with the visual spectacle triggered by this and successive attacks. How do these two reactions relate to one another? How does contemporary art relate to art from other periods dominated by social conflict and disorder? On Tuesday October 28, W.J.T. Mitchell, Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, and visual artist Sean Snyder will talk on this topic as part of the Now is the Time lecture series. The discussion will be moderated by Jaap Kooijman.
Timing could not be better (or worse). On 27 March 2008, just one hour after the notorious internet film by Geert Wilders was released online, the debate on Fitna started in SPUI25. To jumpstart the discussion, statements were made by Frank van Vree, Jaap Kooijman, Herman Pleij, and Jeroen Bons. Rather than focusing (too much) on the film itself, the debate resulted in the discussion of the responsibility of the media professionals, politicians, and academics to move beyond the media hype and address the issues at hand. In a strongly polarized political and public debate, there is little room for nuance, not in the form of denying political realities, but as an attempt to open up rather than close the debate.
What is the role of the filmmaker? Should he or she get actively involved in the public debate or maintain an artistic distance? With the work of Dogma 95 filmmaker Lars von Trier as starting point, Jan Simons (author of Playing the Waves), Tarja Laine (author of Shame and Desire), and filmmaker Eddy Terstall (Rent a Friend, Simon, Sextet) discuss how the notion of the filmmaker as autonomous auteur relates to film as a medium of political engagement. The discussion will be moderated by Jaap Kooijman. Eddy Terstall will show scenes from his upcoming film Vox Populi.
As part of the Amsterdam Museum Night (3 November 2007), a debate took place at SMBA about contemporary iconoclasm, focusing on the use of images in the public domain by highly diverse social groups such as Christians, Muslims, and feminists. How does iconoclasm relate to image censorship and normative standards? Can we actually speak of iconoclasm in the age of information? Moderated by Pieter Hilhorst, the panel included Afshin Ellian (professor of law, philosopher, and poet), Yves DeMaeseneer (theologian connected to the Leuven university), Stine Jensen (literature studies and author connected to the Free University, Amsterdam), Jaap Kooijman (Media and Culture studies connected to the University of Amsterdam), Sven Lütticken (art critic connected to the Free University, Amsterdam) and Peter Jan Margry (historian/antropologist connected to the Meertens Instituut). Click here for a transcription of the panel discussion (in Dutch).