Social Contract or Survival of the Fittest?

On April 29th in Brussels, a panel with Binna Choi, Dora Garcia, Andrea Phillips, Jonas Staal and  Wouter Davidts: “Social Contract or Survival of the Fittest? Debate on interdependency and responsibility in the arts in times of crisis.” 


Taking a cue from Hito Steyerl’s recent Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to Postdemocracy, the discussion will investigate complicities and armistices between art and politics by locating these exchanges ‘within’ rather than ‘outside’ the art world – postulated but never quite grasped by institutional critique and the emancipatory rhetoric of radicalism.

The panelists will discuss to what extent the art world seamlessly blends with – even if metaphorically distinct from – power relations at large. The latter, Steyerl rightly argues, are channeled into a class struggle waged from above. The panel will explore the shape-shifting ethics that bind pockets of freedom and niches of resistance, that engender expansions and trends. Are the liberated selves that art imagines or engages facing an ever more global processing of attention and emotion?