Update from May 4, 2022: The Series of events is suspended.
We need to talk!
Art – Freedom – Solidarity
We need to talk! Art – Freedom – Solidarity is a series of conversations hosted by documenta and documenta archiv on the role of art and artistic freedom in the face of rising antisemitism, racism, and Islamophobia.
In the run-up to documenta fifteen (June 18 to September 25, 2022), three forums will bring together interlocutors and contributors from the fields of art, politics, and academia to discuss complex challenges in the context of art and culture. The focus will be on Germany’s particular historical responsibility, but also on forms of erasure, zeroing in on the blank spots in the German debate surrounding antisemitism and racism.
Participants as of April 11, 2022, are Schirin Amir-Moazami, Omri Boehm, Marina Chernivsky, Manuela Consonni, Nikita Dhawan, Diedrich Diederichsen, Sultan Doughan, Sarah El Bulbeisi, Anselm Franke, Raphael Gross, Teresa Koloma Beck, Meron Mendel, Ben Miller, Nicolas Siepen, Cihan Sinanoğlu, Hito Steyerl, Natan Sznaider, Hannah Tzuberi, Mezna Qato, and Eyal Weizman.
The series is planned as a digital event in German and English with simultaneous translation. It will take place on three consecutive Sundays: May 8, 15, and 22, 2022, from 2 to 5 pm.
We need to talk!
Blank spots 1: Antisemitism and racism in Germany today
Sunday, May 8, 2022, 2–5 pm (CEST)
The discussion explores how and where German and international discourses on antisemitism and racism diverge. In Germany, in light of its historical responsibility for the genocide of European Jews, a specific sensitized discursive culture has developed, in which criticism of the actions of the Israeli state is perceived differently than, for example, in countries of the Global South. How can international cultural institutions in Germany reconcile these two perspectives and enable a productive exchange with artists and civil society?
Introduction: Opening speech “100 Days – 100 Guests,” Edward Said in conversation with Catherine David (documenta 10, 1997)
- Speakers: Diedrich Diederichsen and Hito Steyerl
- Panel: Marina Chernivsky, Raphael Gross, Teresa Koloma Beck, and Ben Miller
- Host: Anselm Franke
- Language: In German with simultaneous translation into English and German Sign Language
We need to talk!
Blank spots 2: On the role of antisemitism and anti-antisemitism in postcolonial discourse
Sunday, May 15, 2022, 2–5 pm (CEST)
The event looks at postcolonial approaches, their potentials, and blank spots, to examine the oft-repeated accusation that postcolonial perspectives dissolve or even refute the historical distinctiveness of the Shoah and antisemitism.
- Speakers: Meron Mendel and Eyal Weizman
- Panel: Omri Boehm, Manuela Consonni, Nikita Dhawan, and Natan Sznaider
- Host: Hannah Tzuberi
- Language: In English with simultaneous translation into German and International Sign
We need to talk!
Blank spots 3: What is anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian racism?
Sunday, May 22, 2022, 2–5 pm (CEST)
The debate leading up to documenta fifteen has been permeated by anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian prejudices. This discussion wants to explore these distinct forms of racism, how they manifest themselves in structures, images, and narratives, and how they can be addressed and countered.
- Speakers: Sultan Doughan and Mezna Qato
- Panel: Sarah El Bulbeisi, Nicolas Siepen, and Cihan Sinanoğlu
- Host: Schirin Amir-Moazami
- Language: In English with simultaneous translation into German and International Sign
Political scientist and sociologist. Principal Investigator at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies since 2009, and Professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin since 2015. Her research interests include religious politics and Islamic movements in Europe, political theory, and gender studies. Numerous publications on politicized religion, feminism, and Islamic studies in Europe.
Philosopher and author. As Associate Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research New York, he focuses on ethics and the history of philosophy. Further topics of interest are politics and culture in Israel. He has published on Spinoza, Kant, and the future of Israel, and writes for the New York Times, Washington Post, DIE ZEIT, and Haaretz.
Psychologist, behavioral scientist, and educator. She directs the Competence Centre for Prevention and Empowerment at the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany, Berlin, and is the founder and Director of OFEK e.V., an advisory center for survivors of antisemitic violence and discrimination. Until 2017, she was a member of the German Bundestag’s “Unabhängiger Expertenkreis Antisemitismus.” In 2019, she was appointed one of the independent advisers to the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism. Her research focuses on antisemitism and discrimination.
Historian and Associate Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2015. She is Director of the Vidal Sassoon Research Center for the Study of Antisemitism, as well as Pela and Adam Starkopf Chair in Holocaust Studies. Her research and publication focus on the memory of the Shoah in Italy and in Western Europe, on antisemitism and racism, and on the roots of antisemitism in the Italian far right.
Political scientist and Professor for Political Theory and the History of Ideas at the Technical University Dresden. She has held positions at the Universities of Oldenburg, Frankfurt am Main, Innsbruck, and Giessen. Between 2009 and 2016, she was Director of the Frankfurt Research Center for Postcolonial Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt. In 2023, she will take up the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship at Stanford University. Dhawan advises the journal Femina Politica and publishes on postcolonial theory, women’s and gender studies, and human rights issues.
Cultural studies scholar, author, journalist, and curator. He has taught at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main; Offenbach University for Art and Design; the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich; the Bauhaus University, Weimar; and Merz Akademie, Stuttgart. He has been a Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna since 2006. His research and writing focus on internet and pop cultures, cultural industries, entertainment architecture, and the contemporary arts.
Anthropologist. She is the Dr. Thomas Zand Visiting Assistant Professor in Holocaust Pedagogy and Antisemitism Studies at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, MA. Before joining the faculty at Clark University in 2021, she was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University. Doughan’s research focuses on contemporary Holocaust education, antisemitism, racism and racialization, and Middle Eastern migration and diaspora. Publication projects on memory culture and citizenship.
Sarah El Bulbeisi
Historian. Currently a Research Associate at the Orient-Institut Beirut. Previously Research Associate at the Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at LMU Munich and project coordinator of the DAAD project “Violence, Forced Migration and Exile: Trauma in the Arab World and in Germany” between Palestinian and Lebanese universities and LMU Munich. Publication on the taboo of experiences of violence among Palestinians in Germany and Switzerland.
Art critic, author, curator.He has been Head of the Visual Art and Film at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin since 2013. He was Exhibition Director at KW Institute for Contemporary Art (formerly Kunst-Werke Berlin) from 2001 to 2006, Director of Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, from 2006 to 2010, co-curator of Manifesta 7 in Trentino-Alto Adige in 2008, co-curator of the 1st Brussels Biennial in 2008, and curator of the Taipei Biennial 2012 and the Shanghai Biennial in 2014. Publications on discourses of territoriality and ethnology receptions of the avant-garde.
Historian and President of the Foundation of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin. He previously directed the Leo Baeck Institute London, the Jewish Museum and the Fritz Bauer Institut, Frankfurt am Main (2007–2015), and was Honorary Professor in History at Goethe University Frankfurt. In 2015, he became Professor of Jewish Culture at Leipzig University and Director of the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture. His curating, research, and writing focuses on German-Jewish history and the Shoah.
Teresa Koloma Beck
Sociologist. Koloma Beck is studying globalization and everyday life under conditions of crisis. She is particularly interested in the presence of the colonial and imperial past in contemporary conflicts. Currently, she is a professor of sociology at Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg. Before this she worked in various international and interdisciplinary research and teaching settings, among them Humboldt University Berlin, Erfurt University and the French-German Marc Bloch Center in Berlin. She has undertaken ethnographic field research in Angola, Mozambique, and Afghanistan.
Educator and journalist. Mendel is Professor of Transnational Social Work at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. Since 2010, he has been Director of the Anne Frank Educational Center in Frankfurt am Main. He studied history and educational sciences in Haifa and Munich and received his PhD from Goethe University Frankfurt in 2010. Mendel is a columnist for FAZ and publishes in DIE ZEIT, Der Spiegel, and taz, among others. He is co-editor of „Trigger Warnung: Identitätspolitik zwischen Abwehr, Abschottung und Allianzen“ (2019).
Historian, author, and curator. Doctoral Fellow at the Graduate School of Global Intellectual History at the Freie Universität Berlin and. His research focuses on primitivism and the rise of gay liberation in the German-speaking and anglophone worlds. He is a member of the board of the Schwules Museum, Berlin, and has curated exhibitions on LGBTQI* history and queer archival practice, and has published on cultural and intellectual history and music.
Artist, filmmaker, and theorist. He is co-founder of the self-organized collective projects b_books, Performing Arts Forum, and the “Nouvelle Vague Soap” Le Ping Pong d’Amour. From 2009 to 2016, he was a Professor of Visual Arts at the Academy of Contemporary Art in Tromsø, Norway. He is currently collaborating with Vierte Welt at Kottbusser Tor in Berlin. Publications on post-structuralism, Marxism and film, art criticism in Springerin, Texte zur Kunst, FAZ, and Starship.
Social scientist. Head of the National Discrimination and Racism Monitor at the DeZIM Institute. Previously, he worked as a press and public relations officer for the Türkische Gemeinde in Deutschland e.V. and as managing director for the monitoring committee of the Federal Conference of Migrant Organizations. Research on multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies and publication of the “Anti-Racism Agenda 2025,” which provides recommendations for action to combat right-wing extremism and racism.
Artist and Professor of Experimental Film and Video at the Berlin University of the Arts, and co-founder of the Research Center for Proxy Politics. Steyerl’s particular research interest is in media, technology, and the distribution of images. In her texts, performances, and essayistic documentaries, Steyerl also engages with postcolonial and feminist criticism of representational logic. She works at the intersection of visual art and film as well as theory and practice.
Professor of Sociology at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. He has held visiting professorships at Columbia University, New York, and LMU Munich, among others. He focuses on cultural sociology, political theory, and memory culture in the context of the Shoah and is a member of an international research group on cultural memory in Europe, Israel, and Latin America. Publications on new antisemitism, memory culture in the globalized world, and the relationship between the Holocaust and colonialism.
Jewish- and Islamic Studies scholar. Currently she is a Post-Doctoral researcher in a collaborative research project “Beyond Social Cohesion. Global Repertoires of Living Together (RePLITO)” at FU Berlin, directed by Prof. Schirin Amir-Moazami. She is co-editor of “Jewish Friends: Contemporary Figures of the Jew” (Jewish Studies Quarterly 27:2–3, 2020) and is working on a book-project titled “Reviving Judaism, Reviving the Nation: Post-Holocaust Imaginaries of the (German) Nation-State.” Her research interests include contemporary European Jewry, nation-building, collective memory, religion and secularism.
Historian at the Margaret Anstee Centre for Global Studies, Newnham College, University of Cambridge. She has held fellowships at the National Academy of Education and at King’s College, Cambridge, and has collaborated with the Archives of Disappeared Research Network. Her research and teaching interests center on histories and theories of social, economic, and political transformation among refugee and stateless communities. Book project on the history of education of Palestinians in preparation.
Architect and author. Director of Forensic Architecture and Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, a Fellow of the British Academy, and co-founder of the architectural collective DAAR in Beit Sahour, Palestine. Weizman works on issues of architecture and politics in Israel and Palestine.
Subject to change.