In this special presentation, part of the final weekend of Be(com)ing Dutch at a Distance, artist Lidwien van de Ven presents her work Freedom of Expression, originally commissioned by the Van Abbemuseum for the “Be(com)ing Dutch” exhibition. A discussion of van de Ven’s video and photographic work and related issues of art, politics, and freedom of speech follows the presentation, hosted by “Be(com)ing Dutch” curators Charles Esche and Annie Fletcher with invited discussants Sudeep Dasgupta and Sonja van Wichelen.
Freedom of Expression is a video showing footage of the press conference at the European Parliament held on February 14, 2008, where Benoît Hamon presented the case of “Freedom of Expression,” asking for funds to protect those under threat for expressing their opinion. Political figure Ayaan Hirsi Ali was the guest of honor in support of this request. While this was a small news item, it relates to the contemporary reality of the double bind of freedom of expression for both speech and religion.
Recent phenomena, such as films like Fitna by Dutch politician Geert Wilders and Submission by Theo Van Gogh, do not invite discussion but instead become political instruments that radicalize positions, making it even more urgent to look into developments surrounding freedom of expression more closely.
This presentation is part of “Museum as Hub: Be(com)ing Dutch at a Distance,” organized by Charles Esche, Director, and Annie Fletcher, Exhibitions Curator, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. The exhibition is on view on the fifth floor of the Museum January 15–March 29, 2009.