Symposium: The Illegality of Freedom


The symposium The Illegality of Freedom brings together political, theoretical and artistic insights and practices, in order to investigate the false dichotomy (choice) between legality and illegality when considering political, economic and any other socially constitutive element of todays global (permanent) war. Freedom appears at this point as a fundamental and arbitrary notion of neoliberal society, the notion that justifies the state of war (consisting of all local/global social crises).

The actual means of democratic defense of humanity, such as: military interventions, austerity measures, refugees’ policies, humanitarian aid, migration laws, human rights, etc., are discursively and ideologically based on the meaning of ‘freedom’. These means (co)produce the neoliberal mechanisms of global governmentality, as well as the permanent state of crisis, conflict and terror. Following art-theory practices, about the relation between il/legality and freedom, the symposium challenges the safe zone of ideological thinking and interrogates images, policies and interventions of the permanent war toady in search of the political articulation of resistance beyond this false dichotomy.

Departing from September 11th, 2001 and the beginning of the war on terror, as declared by the Bush administration, the symposium will focus on common grounds between artistic practices and critical thinking about the urgent and difficult subjects of il/legality, resistance, and social utopia while considering the meaning of freedom in the context of the permanent war.

11.11.2016, 18 h – 20 h
12.11.2016, 9.30 h – 17 h

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Main building, Aula and M13a
Schillerplatz 3
1010 Vienna

Participants: Milica Tomić, Marina Gržinić, Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, Lidija Radojević, Elke Krasny, Nenad Romić aka Marcell Mars, Jelena Vesić, Jelena Petrović, Karen Mirza, Brad Butler and Övül Ö. Durmusoglu.

Concept: Jelena Petrović

Assistant: Jana Zaharijević

The symposium is organized within the frame of the Endowed Professorship for Central and South-Eastern European Art Histories. A co-operation between ERSTE Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Further information at:

Photo credit: Milica Tomic, CONTAINER (2004 — present). Photo by Milica Tomić