freethought is a collective working in public research and in curating concepts of urgency.
Irit Rogoff, Stefano Harney, Adrian Heathfield, Massimiliano Mollona, Louis Moreno and Nora Sternfeld formed freethought in 2011. Moving across disciplines and genres to experiment with new combinations of criticism and practice in the arts, freethought strives to place these new models in unexpected contexts.
For 2016 Bergen Assembly, freethought will focus on its current collective interest: Infrastructure. By looking at many different understandings of this keyword – from legacies of colonial and early capitalist systems of governance to current conditions of the financialization of the cultural field to the subversive possibilities of thinking and working with infrastructures as sites of affect and contradiction – infrastructure emerges as the invisible force of manifest culture today. This large-scale investigation will wrest the term away from the language of planners and technocrats to put to creative and critical use within the cultural sphere.
Throughout 2015-16 freethought are leading a programme of public seminars, invited guest lectures and independent research in Bergen with the intention of developing a collective body of research and insights. This research, an interrogation of infrastructure on a local and global scale of ecology, finance, administration, labour, communication, hospitality, and the basic act of assembling will culminate in a programme of exhibitions, discursive platforms, publications and artistic commissions opening for the Bergen Assembly in September 2016.
Previous projects have included freethought for FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, 2013, and freethought I: Economy of crisis workshop, Steirischer Herbst Festival, Graz, 2012.
Stefano Harney teaches at Singapore Management University. With Fred Moten he is author of The Undercommons: fugitive planning and black study (Autonomedia/Minor Compositions, 2013) available free to download. He is co-founder of Immeasure, an institute for organizational insurgency, and with Tonika Sealy Thompson, of Ground Provisions, an art and education collective.
Adrian Heathfield is a curator and writer working across the scenes of live art, performance and dance. He co-curated Live Culture (Tate Modern 2003), Performance Matters (2009-14), and numerous durational events in European cities over the last fifteen years. His writings on performance, including the books Out of Now and Live: Art and Performance, are widely disseminated and his essays have been translated into seven languages. Adrian is the co-author with the photographer Hugo Glendinning of a series of dialogue films: conversations with critical figures such as Hélène Cixous, Alphonso Lingis, Brian Massumi and Bernard Stiegler. He is an attaché for the Biennale of Sydney 2016 and, as part of the freethought collective, an artistic director of the Bergen Assembly 2016. Adrian is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton, London.
MASSIMILIANO (MAO) MOLLONA
Massimiliano (Mao) Mollona is a writer, filmmaker and anthropologist. He is senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, at Goldsmiths College, London. He has a multidisciplinary background in economics and anthropology and his work focuses on the relationship between art and political economy. He conducted extensive fieldwork in Italy, the UK, Brazil and Norway, looking at the relationship between economic development and political activism through participatory and experimental film practices in favelas and poor neighborhoods. His practice is situated at the intersection of pedagogy, art and activism. He is a member of the collective freethought, Programme Director of the Athens Biennale 2015–2017, and editor of Focaal Anthropology and Visual Anthropology (AVA) Blog.
Louis Moreno is an urbanist and theorist based in London whose research examines the socio-spatial ramifications of finance capitalism. He is a lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures and the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London. His PhD at the Urban Laboratory, University College London analysed the impact of financialisation on changes to the urban form of the postindustrial city. Louis is also an electronic music producer who has released records on the Glasgow label Numbers, also co-founded a series of regular nights at the Arcola theatre in Dalston, Hackney called Stadtklang, which explores all things sonic, electronic and urban.
Irit Rogoff is a writer, teacher, curator and organisor. She is Professor of Visual Culture at Goldsmiths London University, a department she founded in 2002.
Rogoff works at the meeting ground between contemporary practices, politics and philosophy. Curatorial projects have included A.C.A.D.E.M.Y in Hamburg, Antwerp and Eindhoven and “De-Regulation with the work of Kutlug Ataman” (Antwerp, Tel Aviv, Berlin) and “Summit—Non Aligned Positions in education Culture” in Berlin. Rogoff has written extensively on contemporary participatory arts practices and on arts expansions into the social through educational, activist and epistemological incursions. Her book on ‘Seriousness’ (co authored with Gavin Butt, Sternberg Press) appeared in 2015. Her current work is on new practices of knowledge production and their impact on modes of research, under the title of “The Way We Work Now” (forthcoming 2016).
Nora Sternfeld is an educator and curator. She is professor for curating and mediating art, director of the curatorial program CuMMA at the Aalto University in Helsinki (cummastudies.wordpress.com) and co-director of /ecm—educating/curating/managing—Master Program in exhibition theory and practice at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She is co-founder and part of trafo. K, Office for Art, Education and Critical Knowledge Production based in Vienna (w/Ines Garnitschnig, Renate Höllwart and Elke Smodics). She was a lecturer at the Humboldt University in Berlin, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the Zurich University of the Arts, the Art Academy Kassel, the Vienna Art School and the University of Education in Vienna. She publishes on contemporary art, exhibition theory, education, politics of history and anti-racism.