Lecture

15 November 2007

Why Dissent is Impossible in Holland

A Russian anarchist, having moved to the Netherlands in the 1990s, initially saw the country as a haven of freedom. Yet he soon thought otherwise, experiencing as he did that his efforts at non-conformity were channelled in such a way as to take all radicality out of them. This example is illustrative of a wider point: though in some respects tolerant of deviant behavior, the Dutch do not have a word for “dissent,” and have few traditions of sustained opposition to state and society. In his keynote address, James Kennedy uncovers the historical reasons for this and looks in particular at what citizenship has—and has not—meant over the years. The relative absence of dissent in Dutch public life, in particular in respect to immigration and religious expression, is discussed in the context of Kennedy’s understanding of the notion of “active citizenship.” According to Kennedy, from the beginning of the 1960s till the mid-1980s, the Netherlands enjoyed the status of a gidsland—a leading nation, exemplary in terms of how its public life was based upon an activist model of citizenship. Yet, having lost its status, today the country struggles to come to terms with how to define a “good citizen” (the worrying prevalence of the refrain “Can Muslims be good, democratic citizens?” is but one example ) or even how and where to actually carry on the public debate about living together. Regarding the need for a “site” for public debate on these issues and for dissent from the prevailing consensus, can art or science provide society with such space?

In collaboration with

Suggestions from the archive

Exhibitionary

Screening

15 July 2021, 18.30-20.00

Fragments of Repair/Gathering VI: Invisible Bridges

A public program realized in the framework of the multi-part project Fragments of Repair

Taking place on Thursday 15 July 2021, the sixth gathering of Fragments of Repair/Gatherings, consists of a screening of artist Kader Attia’s Reason’s Oxymorons (2015) and a conversation between Kader Attia (Berlin) and Stefania Pandolfo (medical anthropologist, Berkeley, CA).

Screening

24 June 2021, 17.30-20.00

Fragments of Repair/Gathering V: The Object’s Interlacing

A public program realized in the framework of the multi-part project Fragments of Repair

Taking place on Thursday 24 June 2021, the fifth gathering of Fragments of Repair/Gatherings, consists of a screening of artist Kader Attia’s The Object’s Interlacing (2020), followed by a conversation between Souleymane Bachir Diagne (philosopher New York/Dakar) and Wayne Modest (material culture curator and researcher, Amsterdam/Rotterdam).

Education Program

21 June, 19.00–7 July, 21.00 2021

Course: Art as Politics

An Online Extension of BAK Public Studies

A new edition of the online course Art as Politics, taking place on the following dates: 21, 23, 28 and 30 June & 5 and 7 July 2021. The course, taught by BAK’s Maria Hlavajova, brings those involved and/or interested in art, theory, and social action into collective conversation.