February 23

The Price of Freedom

On the Political Economy of Censorship


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 FPÖ politician because of a picture by Otto Mühl. 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.


23. 2.
Introduction, Helmut Draxler, Hedwig Saxenhuber
Lecture, Mark Terkessides
Moderation: Helmut Draxler

The freedom of art and right-wing “Kulturkampf”
Matthias Herrmann, Werner Würtinger, Hannes Tretter, David Casacuberta
Moderation: Hedwig Saxenhuber

Viktor Rogy

24. 2.
On the politicial economy of censorship
Tom Holert, Boris Buden, Žarana Papić
Moderation: Georg Schöllhammer

Lecture, Georg Seeßlen
Moderation: Helmut Draxler

Cultural nation and international perspectives
Silke Wenk, Oliver Marchart, Tatiana Zhurzhenko, Antje Schuhmann
Moderation: Johanna Schaffer

25. 2.
How to collaborate?
Wolf Wetzel, Stephan Geene, Augustine Leisch, Ljubomir Bratić
Moderation: Helmut Draxler

Open final discussion
Moderation: Ruth Noack

Ljubomir Bratić
Philosopher, social scientist, writer, activist and refugees counselor, lives in Vienna. Federal spokesperson for the Austrian Network Against Racism (ANAR), works in the non-profit organisation Projekt Integrationshaus, writes regularely for dérive, Die Bunte.
Boris Buden
Writer, lives in Vienna. Editor for the magazine Arkzin Zagreb, publications in various Croatian and international media.
David Casacuberta
Philosophy professor at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. Former president and founding member of Fronteras Electronicas España (FrEE), an NGO devoted to electronic civil rights and liberties in Spain.
Helmut Draxler
Art historian, critic and curator, lives in Munich. 1992-1995 head of the Münchener Kunstverein. Is teaching cultural studies and media theory at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart since 1998.
Stephan Geene
Engaged in minimal club + b_books (publishing company, book shop, venue), Berlin. Writes on scientific critisism for TAZ, Jungle World and others.
Matthias Herrmann
Artist, lives in Vienna. Editor of SLUTSmagazine. President of the Secession since 1999.
Tom Holert
Freelance culture theorist and journalist, lives in Cologne. Together with Mark Terkessidis, he founded the Institute for Studies in Visual Culture (isvc) in Cologne in April 2000.
Augustine Leisch
Author, journalist, organizer of the Kulturkarawane, lives in Vienna.
Oliver Marchart
Philosopher, lives in Vienna.
Ruth Noack
Art historian, critic and curator. Member of the feminist translator’s collective Gender et alia. Teaches filmtheory at the University of Vienna. President of the Austrian Section of AICA.
Žarana Papić
Social anthropologist, lives in Belgrade. Professor at the Women’s Studies Centre, Belgrade. Papic was one of the organizers of the first International feminist conference in Eastern Europe (Belgrade 1978).
Viktor Rogy
is an office, a singer, a dancer and a sculptor. He lives in Klagenfurt.
Hedwig Saxenhuber
Freelance curator and co-editor of springerin, Hefte für Gegenwartskunst, lives in Vienna. 1992-1995 at the Kunstverein Munich. Teaches at the University for Arts, Linz.
Johanna Schaffer
Johanna Schaffer teaches feminist critiques of representation and film theory. For the feminist translation collective gender et alia she translates US-american and English feminist theories into German.
Georg Schöllhammer
Born 1958, editor-in-chief of springerin. Hefte für Gegenwartskunst. Studied architecture, art history and philosophy; 1988-1994 culture editor for the daily newspaper Der Standard; beginning in 1992 guest professor for the theory of contemporary art at the University for Artistic and Industrial Design, Linz.
Antje Schuhmann
Cultural scholar, lives in Munich. Focusing on theories of racism, gender studies and on violence and gender. 1993-1994 editor for Die Beute, author for Die Hilfe.
Georg Seesslen
Film theorist, freelance author and lecturer at various universities. Studied painting, art history and semiology in Munich.
Mark Terkessidis
Psychologist and journalist, lives in Cologne. 1992-1994 editor of the magazine SPEX. Together with Tom Holert, he founded the Institute for Studies in Visual Culture (isvc) in Cologne in April 2000.
Hannes Tretter
Institute for Constitutional and Administrative Law of the University of Vienna, head of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, lecturer at the Institute for Cultural Studies in Vienna.
Silke Wenk
Professor for art history, lives in Oldenburg.
Wolf Wetzel
has written various articles on autonomous theory and practice, lives in Frankfurt/M.
Werner Würtinger
Sculptor. 1995-1999 President of the Secession. Vice-Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
Tatiana Zhurzhenko
Associate professor at the department of philosophy at Kharkiv National University, Ukraine. Reseach Projects at Kharkiv Center for Gender Studies. IWM Fellowship, Vienna.