Fearless Speech

From 2016 to 2018, the interdisciplinary event series “Fearless Speech” explored the question of critique in politics and the arts. The series focused not only on political and ethical practices that contemporary artists use to open up new space of possibilities, but also introduced new artistic and political forms. In the season of 2017/18, we bade farewell to Foucault’s signature in the series’ subtitle, and yet continued to explore his questions. 

HAU Hebbel continued to retrace Foucault’s steps and actualized his most crucial stances – his decisive dismissal of prisons and the judicial apparatus, of psychiatric evaluation, the administrative construction of identities, the production of obedience in schools and factories, the military production of assassinations, or the individual’s sexualization – before the background of today’s pressing questions. The French philosopher utilizes the term parrhesia, which he interprets as a particular aesthetic and intellectual practice of life. Foucault uses this term to counter more individualized forms of knowledge, such as “common sense and its fetishism of all things evidential. He understands parrhesia as the practice of “truth-telling" in a situation where one cannot fall back onto predetermined reassurances. The series asked how an individual can possibly resist to be formed in particular way. At the same time, it also questioned taken for granted notions of common “knowledge.” 

Editions of the series have hosted guests including Judith Butler, Didier Eribon, Loïc Wacquant, Rahel Jaeggi, Daniel Zamora, Ruth Sonderegger, Jace Clayton, Ekaterina Degot, Nick Srnicek, Serhat Karakayali, Kathrin Busch, Helmut Draxler, Ute Tellmann, Roberto Nigro, and Alex Demirović.


“Fearless Speech” is a HAU Hebbel am Ufer event series.

Curated by Pascal Jurt.