Commissioned by the Bergen Assembly, 2016
The freethought collective came together in 2012 amid growing crises in the education sector, specifically the need for new knowledges to flow in and out of academia unhampered by strict protocols of evaluation and the metric assessment of the outcomes of knowledge. The “free” in freethought’s chosen name signals this need to detach knowledges from disciplines, institutional settings, and predictable outcomes, and to explore new modes for circulation. In this way, freethought argues against differentiating academic and creative practices, insisting instead that they together can expand and challenge through diverse materials and unexpected conceptual questions. Moving toward this, freethought is dedicated to public study and public research. This means exploring thematics though numerous entry points and modes of collective research, including establishing what a ‘subject’ of knowledge might possibly be and which materials can illuminate it, producing it in public and with numerous stakeholders. Given that knowledge operates as a political force, collective knowledge based in entangled experience can allow for an expanded field of what it means “to know” and what the stakes are in “knowing.”
freethought was first part of Truth is Concrete at steirischer herbst, Graz, 2012, exploring conceptions of “Education Crisis,” “Labour Crisis,” and “Creative Strikes”; they collaborated with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin to curate a strand of the final event of Former West, Berlin, 2013, on infrastructure; and co-curated the 2016 Bergen Assembly, Bergen focusing on how infrastructure is not a neutral mechanism for the delivery of goods, services, and electronic supports, but the predominant condition of people’s lives. Infrastructure indoctrinates subjects in ways of thinking and acting—making us “infrastructural beings.” Currently during 2020/2023, freethought are developing “Spectral Infrastructure”: a long-term research trajectory in collaboration with BAK that delves into the ghostly, affective, and fugitive intensities that undergird both infrastructural and quotidian life.
The freethought collective consists of practitioners, researchers, writers, and lecturers Stefano Harney, Adrian Heathfield, Massimiliano Mollona, Louis Moreno, Irit Rogoff, and Nora Sternfeld.
Read more on the freethought website