While a vast number of American and European legal scholars identify freedom of speech as a special right, Staal and Khalili’s art invites us to re-think and reconstruct our notion of freedom of speech as it has been articulated and appropriated by imperialist and neoliberal formations of power. The juxtaposing of works by these two artists as suggested in the exhibition, calls for a critical reflection on the essence of freedom of speech, its distinctiveness and robustness, when it itself is used as a form of silencing. Pondering into the tension between freedom of speech and censorship, the artists urge us to contemplate on how the two are congenital to each other? What is speech in our time? Who, if at all, can speak and where? And, what forms of speech are recognized as a fundamental human right?
The gallery will organize a gallery talk on Sunday, October 28, 4pm. In this gallery talk, Criminal Defense Lawyer Nancy Hollander will present her lecture titled “Government Surveillance and Censorship: The End of Free Speech in America.”