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, examination, and classroom outcomes. The “free” in freethought’s chosen name signals this need to detach knowledges from disciplines, institutional settings, and predictable outcomes, and to define new modes for circulation. In this way, freethought argues against differentiating academic and artistic practices, insisting instead that they together can expand and challenge through diverse materials and conceptual questions. Moving toward this, freethought is dedicated to public study and public research. To them, this means exploring thematics though numerous points and modes of collective research, including establishing what a subject might even be and which materials can illuminate it. Given that knowledge operates as a political force, collective knowledge based in 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,” steirischer herbst, Graz, 2012, exploring conceptions of “Education Crisis,” “Labour Crisis,” and “Creative Strikes”; they collaborated with BAK, 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 of goods, services, and electronic supports, but the predominant condition of people’s lives, indoctrinating subjects in ways of thinking and acting—making “infrastructural beings.”
As BAK 2020 Fellows, freethought expands their infrastructure project to explore affective dimensions. They are calling this “Spectral Infrastructure,” the hidden and invisible textures that sustain undefinable and disruptive qualities in otherwise efficient seeming organisms or structures.