13-10-2016 — Bitter Sweet Dialogue ++ with Pascal Gielen

For its inaugural event, La Cocina presented “bitter-sweet dialogue” with Pascal Gielen. Together, we reflected on the role of cultural initiatives and their capacity to disrupt “consensus.”
To trigger the dialogue, Pascal Gielen gave a statement on the relation between art, politics and public life.
The spatial set-up was conceived to affect the dialogue, both enhancing the exchange, and creating areas of exclusion.

Pascal Gielen, “Beyond the Creative City: Art, Politics and Public Life in the City of the 21st Century”

Since the financial crisis started at the end of 2007 a lot of governments do budget cuts in the cultural and artistic field. Inspired by the critical social theory of Herbert Marcuse (1964), these policy decisions are understood within an ideological framework as “repressive liberalism.” That is a (cultural) politics that on the one hand proclaims individual freedom, stimulates cultural entrepreneurship and embraces the creative city, but on the other hand develops a large-scale decentralized control apparatus that strongly restricts individual and artistic freedom. Within this cultural policy creative labour itself can also be ‘instrumentalized’ as a repressive tool. In his lecture Pascal Gielen analyses the relationship between art, politics and the public space in the creative city. He also looks how activists and creative ‘workers’ respond to this policy by organizing themselves in alternative ways.

Pascal Gielen is professor of sociology of art and politics at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (Antwerp University – Belgium) where he leads the Culture Commons Quest Office, and he is research professor at Groningen University. Gielen is also editor in-chief of the international book series “Arts in Society.” In 2016 he became laureate of the prestigious Odysseus grant for excellent international scientific research of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders in Belgium. His research focuses on creative labour, the institutional context of the arts and on cultural politics. Gielen has published many books which are translated in English, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.