This lecture is introduced by Maria Hlavajova.
‘Citizens and Subjects: The Netherlands, for example’ is a critical reader with contributions by artists, philosophers, and social scientists based in the Netherlands. In texts and conversations, they engage with the sentiments of fear and other key issues that define the current atmosphere of anxiety in the West, exploring in-depth the Netherlands as an “example.” Immigration, the colonial past, the normalization of violence and new image wars, as well as issues of cultural citizenship and the place of art vis-à-vis these concerns are debated in order to explore the potential for emancipatory thinking in the fields of scholarship and artistic practice today. The critical reader is published instead of a (promotional) catalogue that would traditionally accompany an exhibition in a national pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Alongside Aernout Mik’s video and architectural installation in the Dutch Pavilion and this series of lectures and seminars, the critical reader is one of three equal, interconnected yet autonomous parts of the entire project. In an increasingly privatized world in which artistic and cultural production are frequently showcased in the service of late capitalism and neoliberal goals, Citizens and Subjects insists on an art that is public and engaged with the world. Here, art can be understood as a site where larger networks of cultural, political, and social discourse intersect, thus creating new possibilities–a site where ideals that could potentially counterbalance problematic developments in the public sphere can be reimagined.