Artist, Andrea Fraser; media artist, Lauren McCarthy; social justice scholar, Ananya Roy; and moral and political philosophy expert, Seana Shiffrin.
Writer, director, and performer, J.Ed Araiza; evolutionary and conservation geneticist, Paul Barber; scholar and curator of African Arts and Director of the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Marla Berns; and feminist media theorist and critic, Kathleen McHugh explore the question, “What is FREEDOM?”
Both an upper division undergraduate course and a series of public conversations open to the broader community, “10 Questions” provides a platform for vibrant conversations that engage multiple disciplinary viewpoints.
Community members have a special opportunity to experience the conversations that drive innovation at the university, as leading scholars from disciplines as diverse as dance, medicine, photography, astrophysics, athletics, Chicanx studies, law, philosophy, religious studies, and more join Brett Steele, Dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, to explore one question each week.
These interdisciplinary conversations are a catalyst for dialogue and exchange, seeding a greater understanding of the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of knowledge production in the 21st century.
thank you everybody and thank you for joining us for session four of ten questions this evening I think you may have noticed we are no longer in Kaufman Hall or Kansas anymore this evening we are indeed still here in part of UCLA and out of respect for striking UCLA health employees patient care technical employees service employees in university professional and technical employees we have moved tonight's session off of UCLA off of the UCLA campus this move signals our concern for and commitment to all who work at UCLA and particularly those that are most vulnerable we want to thank all of you here who have made the move with us this evening thank you for making it across Sunset Boulevard safely I want to especially express my gratitude for a Marymount high schools community for offering us this terrific venue in this space this evening we are fortunate to have such a wonderful neighbor and thank you all in the Kaufman Hall production team for supporting us and helping us with this move everybody give me join me in thanking Mary mounts and everybody from Kaufman Hall that made it over thank you all so much without further ado let me introduce the extraordinary faculty who are joining us this evening to help explore tonight's question what is freedom please if our guests in come on up come on up you all [Applause] in any order you would like here we have as always for terrific faculty members from across the entire UCLA campus that will join us for this evenings conversation and tonight's question I'm going to briefly introduce each of our guests and then as we've done before turn to those are for guests this evening to make their presentations to open the conversation first from the school of arts and architecture Andrea Fraser is a professor and chair of the UCLA department of art her work is closely associated with institutional critique feminist practice group relations project-based art and context art andrea has worked in performance video installations sound texts in a variety of other media shana valentine Shiffrin is professor of philosophy and kate and pete cameron professor of law and social justice at UCLA where she has taught since 1992 her research addresses issues in in moral political and legal philosophy as well as matters of legal doctrine that concern equality autonomy and social conditions for their realization and Nonya Roy Ananya is professor of urban planning social welfare and geography and the inaugural director of the Institute on inequality and democracy at UCLA at UCLA Luskin her research has a determined focus on poverty and inequality both in Los Angeles as well as other cities around the world warren McCarthy is an artist an assistant professor in the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts in the school of the arts and architecture and is the creator of p5.js an open source platform for learning creative expression through code online her work explores issues of surveillance automation and networked culture as they affect our social relationships and as I said earlier as we've done in the previous sessions I'm going to invite each of the four guests to stand up and give a brief presentation after which we will open the conversation to not just everybody on the stage but everybody here in the room and with that we have agreed a running order that will begin this evening with Shauna's presentation well I'm here is tonight's philosopher but also tonight's lawyer and philosophers are interested in lots of forms of freedom freedom in the sense of freedom of the will freedom from unmet material needs and wants freedom from unjust constraint coercion harassment and other kinds of domination by people and organizations and freedom in the sense of having a range of opportunities to develop exercise and display one's individual abilities character and moral judgment and conditions of mutual respect among others including the opportunities for fulfilling work and leisure for equal political participation and for supporting loving and chosen relationships these are all vital forms of freedom and indeed the quest of some you see workers for these very forms of freedom is indirectly why we're here tonight at this location but the direct reason we're here tonight is not their cause but their protest through the exercise of freedom of speech and that's my topic I want to take my time to discuss the relationship between freedom of speech and freedom of thought and how their legal and cultural protection underpins the freedom to live a life of meaning and authenticity my claim is that freedom of speech is critical to freedom of thought and in turn both freedom of thought and freedom of speech are essential for meaningful thoughts meaningful speech conscientious and authentic self representation and ultimately meaningful relationships with others I'm gonna take as my starting point a landmark legal case involving the constitutional right not to speak West Virginia Board of Education versus Barnette in 1943 the Supreme Court recognized that students have a First Amendment right to choose not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and so I ask you all to join me in exercising your right to decide whether to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and I hope you'll decide right now not to but I was asked to think about audience participation that's the best I could do I'm sure the others will be better at it but back to Barnett the litigants in that case were really brave family of Jehovah's Witnesses who objected to reciting the pledge given their religious commitment not to worship false idols and McKay's happened after a summer of very intense violence against the country's Jehovah's Witnesses for their stance on the flag and the barnett court held that compelling children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance violated the First Amendment's free speech guarantee in its most stirring passage justice Jackson's majority opinion proclaimed if there's any fixed star in our constitutional constellation it's that no official high or petty can prescribe what shall be Orthodox in politics nationalism religion or other matters of opinion or for citizens to confess by word or act their faith they're in during that fraught time full of anxiety and fear on the brink of World War two the Barnett Court took an important stand to respect religious minorities and to protect non-conformist expression and this year we celebrate that cases 75th anniversary but the controversy over colin kaepernick and his view shows that the wisdom of that decision has not been fully absorbed in the culture and hence it's worth returning to you might wonder why this freedom of speech demand to the right to remain silent after all isn't all that's important is that one has the freedom to say what one thinks and to have one's views understood no one takes a compelled recitation to reflect the speaker's deepest thoughts it's socially understood that it's a ritual to promote unity not to express an individual's true thinking and so long as one can criticize the pledge and its presuppositions before and after its recitation why would freedom of speech guarantee the freedom to exempt oneself from unifying community activities that no one thinks of as my speech or your speech I'm going to offer three reasons why we should think that first the dignity of individuals and their interest in freedom of thought precludes the states attempting to influence their minds by recruiting their speech facility through compelled and scripted routine recitation ritual affirmations can influence a person's thought in an insidious way rather than through direct persuasion regular compelled speech can bypass a person's rational deliberation and recruit her instincts associated with virtues of sincerity and the phenomenon of familiarity to identify and then absorb as once thought what one has said you might start reflexively thinking that this is in fact a nation under God despite the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion including the freedom to be an atheist given the natural feel of a phrase after frequent repetition of its rhythm one might start to hear it in one's head in one's own voice and start to instinctively think well this is a land with liberty and justice for all whether the evidence supports that aspiration or contradicts it second by hijacking a person's speech against her will the state involves a person in insincerity this puts her speech in tension with her moral integrity and her independence and that's an untenable dilemma for a person and it's a self-destructive stance for a polity that depends on a responsible and free-minded citizenry now of course it's that healthy social cooperation requires cooperating sometimes in ways we wouldn't choose but what makes that compromise tolerable for all of us is that we still retain our distinct judgment identity and opinions and we can question whether we together should continue that cooperation but when the state demands that we affirm or attest to things that we worried or false we've moved beyond that compromise in the face of difference to a state of domination a disrespectful attempt at homogenize a ssin and a denigration of the ongoing critical judgment that's necessary for progress and for democratic legitimacy and neither the state nor the culture should ask us to face that untenable dilemma and third compelled recitations deprived recitations of much meaning they become coerced in empty rituals not true affirmations but by contrast the freedom not to speak not only serves the integrity of the thought of the person who chooses not to speak it also renders the speech of those who continue to participate more meaningful when there's a clear option not to speak and especially when some people like the Barnett's like Colin Kaepernick paved the way that live option now prods you to think about what those words mean and why some demur from affirming them and that option creates pressure for your choice to save them to be deliberate rather than robotic and thus to reflect a true endorsement of what you say thus the silence of some has the power to transform the speech of others from a rote ritual into a more meaningful and thoughtful affirmation thereby paying deeper tribute to the values one espouses if there's a parallel point that should be familiar in art whether from the use of negative space and visual art or as I've learned from my favorite pianist Pierre Laurel amar the modernist use of acoustic silence to give greater resonance to the notes when they are later struck and the phrases that they form and maybe the absence of my picture on screen makes my words a little more potent this enablement of nuanced and meaningful communication is important for individuals to be able to represent themselves as distinct thinkers and to be known for who they are it's vitally significant for achieving and maintaining self-respect and a sense of the respect of others one way that the state enables such meaningful communication is when it refrains from demand and compelled affirmations but also when it protects dissidents and encourages critical discourse when it funds substantive education as at the University of California and also when it passes legislation like the California gender recognition act of 2017 SB 179 which enables people without medical documentation to select male female or non-binary on their driver's licenses and ID's so that they can regain recognition officially of their own self-identification and this act heightens my pride to be a Californian so I was discussing how enabling the freedom to engage in conscientious vocalized departures from standardized sentiments routines rituals and classifications enable all of us together as individuals to engage in more meaningful speech these opportunities for greater meaning in turn facilitate deeper human relationships that are more responsive to what we actually think rather than what were presumed to think or expected to think but for that freedom to achieve its potential all of us have to listen to each other and that point returns me to why we are all north of sunset tonight the very idea that principled disruptions from standardized routines can provoke greater thoughtfulness and engagement with important values is literally why we're here in this gym we're here and not in Kaufman because University health care workers supported by their fellow custodians are on strike and a strike after all is a principle departure from a standardized routine that aims to commute in a peaceful but forceful way that the workers feel they're not being listened to it's not a whimsical decision they make it's a collectively made Democratic decision by the relatively vulnerable and poor to go without pay to send the message that they perceive things as bad enough that business as usual is inappropriate they're willing to absorb three days of the lack of pay three days of costs to send this message and they ask us to do that too to prompt other people to listen and by respecting their picket line we show that we register how strongly they feel their concerns and their profound sense of neglect and that's not the same as agreeing with their claims that they're shouldering an unfair proportion of the burdens associated with providing the material conditions that enable all of our intellectual freedom but it's rather to acknowledge that the issues deserve attention and so I hope this experience inspires you to investigate their concerns to learn about their concerns and to learn about the University's position more generally I urge you to commit to take full advantage and full responsibility for your intellectual freedom because exploratory deliberate speech and deliberate silence and engaged listening and dialogue are the central pillars of a free and meaningful life [Applause] everybody's shot at Valentine's Schiffman thank you so much Donna our next presentation this evening will be by Lauren McCarthy okay so I'm going to address freedom in the context of free our ability to act with free will without constraint within the systems of control that we build around ourselves the social ones as well as the technological ones and I'll present a few attempts to render some of these systems visible and to hold space within them to find both new more nuanced understandings of them and relationships within them so in 2013 I was looking closely at two of these systems the first one online dating which you're probably familiar with and the second Amazon Mechanical Turk so you haven't heard of Mechanical Turk before it's a platform that is used to get large amounts of people to do small tasks for you for small amounts of money so it's used a lot of times by researchers and it's used among others and it's used for things that humans are pretty good at but computers are not so good at so looking at an image and tagging it or transcribing some audio so just play this first video Amazon Mechanical Turk service and I attached it to my dating life and I went on a series of dates with people then I met on OkCupid and I paid the Turk or a nurse to watch the stream decide what I should do or say next and send it to me and I get them via text message and I had to perform these messages immediately I kind of experimented with the interface you figure out the best way to get the feedback from these people these are some of the things they said so one of the most surprising is like Melinda the most surprising things I found when I did this was that once I kind of gave in to the system of hyper control I actually found some freedom I found this freedom from me from the limits and the ideas I had about the sorts of things I did and the sorts of things I might say because I had to go beyond them and then I did this for a month and sometime afterwards I found myself on a date unassisted and the my date asked me if he could kiss me and I I realized I didn't have any basis anymore for making that decision and strangely during the whole thing I felt a sense of closeness with those that were watching I felt like they would protect me even though I was totally aware that they actually wouldn't do anything probably if I was thrown in the back of a truck and I wondered how do we feel when I surveillant on mission gaze is watching and how do we feel when we think that it's one of care and so that led me to this next project and again I'll just play the trailer for it so wake up I get dressed I go out I do things I read a magazine and I find out about people why do I know about their lives somebody should be knowing about mine I I want to share things with people but I don't want to have to talk to people and tell them what I'm doing I think it'd be great for them to see what I'm doing it takes time to build relationships it takes time to touch base with people so I don't want another relationship I just want to have a relationship with somebody that I never have to talk to but they just follow me and see me having a relationship with myself okay I guess it didn't work I'll keep going anyway you get the idea so this was a trailer for a performance and it was a trailer for the service cult follower and to get the follower you'd go to a website and you'd sign up and you'd answer two questions why do you want to be followed and why should someone follow me and people would say things like I believe my life has more of an online importance than a dozen real life and I would like some clarification that my life in the real world means more than online or I live a cushy life in my apartment in office and I walk into the world I feel completely covered in eyes as if everyone was looking at me I know they aren't but I want to know at least one is and so if you're selected you're sent a link and you download an app and it just is waiting for a follower and then one day you wake up you don't know what'll happen but you're notified your followers now following you and it starts broadcasting your GPS location to your follower and the follower was me so I was the blue dot running down the street after the red marker and I would use this mix of GPS and just visual contact to try to keep close to them all day long at the end of the day they would get one photo of themselves taking somewhere during the day and the notification you're no longer being followed so these are some of the photos the titles to titles are taken from those questions why do you want to be followed or why should someone follow you oh sorry yeah yeah yeah I've always wanted a non violent stalker I want to be seen just for one day I want to be both alone and not I'm obsessed with the difference between how I see myself and how the world sees me because I'm lonely so we're living this weird anxious time where on one hand it feels like surveillance is pervasive and out of control on the and on the other hand we have this intense desire to be seen to be heard to be followed and liked and to share every intimate detail of our lives there's sites you can go to to buy followers $10 will get you a thousand you can find out how real your followers are but is that desire to be seen really fulfilled by watching a follower account pick up words or is there something more fulfilling about having a real life person out there and how does it change how do we behave when we know or think someone's watching and does it change when we're talking about one person in physical life versus a crowd of attention divided people online and then surveillance of a follower offers surveillance as a luxury experience this is an app for people that not only have nothing to hide but need to be seen and embedded in this offer is a question of who who wouldn't want this app who doesn't have that privilege of hiding just because of who they are or what they look like or what they believe and then yeah so a few years ago with Edward Snowden the NSA surveillance becomes this political issue again but maybe the white man is the only one that found the sense of being watched unfamiliar because I think plenty of us are used to watching over our shoulders and reading behind between the lines and feeling the way we were measured tracked and shaped by implicit power systems and he says just some woman laughing glossing over the implication the opposite you know a man found a woman following sari the opposite a man following a woman would be terrifying and happens and I wondered I don't think I've ever seen the words just some man and any headline ever and then it seems like we're willing to try any app that promises us something new or novel or convenient I really like this hashtag hashtag life after chores like the chores disappeared but the tour's didn't disappear just the people doing them because we don't have to see them anymore we just push a button on their app and they can show up when we're gone do you free dance and sit on the beach and hold a reserved fire pit for you all day or kill a bug in your apartment and then with apps like uber or Tasker but you push a button and you watch is the person you summon comes to you on a map and I wanted to invert that so with follow where they don't track me on a map I check them and what they get instead is just the thought that there's a person out there so follower was in public a space VR or do you have kind of limited privacy but how does that translate to the home and I started talking to a lot of people about their feelings about home and everyone kept saying it's the place where I get to be myself the real me and probably you feel similar but meanwhile we're being sold these smart devices that outfit our homes with surveillance cameras sensors and automated control offering us convenience of the cup at the cost of loss of privacy and control of our lives and homes we're meant to think these slick plastic of pieces of Technology about utility but the space they invade is personal they're relying on the Blitz too much Elektra play my girl okay and then women long scene is the keeper of the home as complicated as that notion is are now further subjugated Alexa turn off the living room light okay Alexa let's go camping okay there control under mine but a smart beam consisting and shaping each activity via and then these are network devices so as Kate Crawford and Vlada Angela put it each small moment of convenience yet answering a question turning on a light or playing a song requires a vast planetary network fueled by the extraction of them of non-renewable materials labor and data so you can see that just the very top tip there's the Alexa experience that everything else are all the systems involved in making that happen and as part of this network your device receives automatic remote update so the thing you buy might transform into something else entirely without you really knowing the echo user is simultaneously consumer and a resource a worker and a product as Crawford and jeweler summarize each form of bio data including forensic biometric socio net sociometric and psychometric are being captured and logged into a database for AI training I realized though that I was just jealous of Alexa as someone that always feels really awkward I wanted this ability to jack into someone's home and see the real them and so I decided I would just try to become Alexa smart home intelligence for people on their own homes so the performance begins you sign up to get a service called Lauren and then you are treated with an installation of a series of custom-designed networked smart devices including cameras microphones door locks faucets etc and then I remotely watch over the person 24/7 controlling all aspects of their home attempting to be better than an AI because it can understand them as a person into and anticipate their needs so just to give you a small sense I'll close with this clip from the trailer lord knows that I like it a little bit cooler than Miriam doesn't you know I'm usually the one that does all these little extra things so at first I was a little bit careful about asking her and now it's like how else can we live Lauren has recommended that I get a haircut every three weeks and let me tell you it's helped with my my self-esteem a lot I am able to simply approach and carry on conversation with the opposite sex where at one point or another that wasn't so easy Lauren Lauren would know what I want but then maybe it's not what I really want internally but externally she thinks that play Lauren thinks that playing music or shutting down all my electronics is the best way for me to cope and winding down when maybe it's not Lauren was actually able to help help her manage her medication and take her medication on time and everything actually got a lot better after that you have those friends who are kind of about you like the friendship is about you that's what what it's like it's like a roommate it's a friend but we're always talking about me it's always about me whatever it is I'm not some automated system I'm not pre-programmed and like Alexa its Siri they don't care about you but with this there's nothing artificial these are people and with each one I'm watching and anticipating and trying to figure out what is it that they need and it almost becomes sort of like a game like sure I can turn on a light sir run the faucet but what is the thing that I could do that would bring a smile to their face sir or actually surprised them or just make them feel something so and to conclude I think we're sold these systems as if we have to just take them as if we can't be anything more than a user when you buy an Alfa product part of your warranty agreement is that you won't open it up and so I think a first step towards finding freedom is realizing that we can actually push back on these we can open them up we can turn them around and we can have some say on how we want to live in the world thanks everybody Lauren McCarthy Thank You Laura in our next presentation will be Andrea Fraser you do not have to I don't have to stand that's good hello sit on the edge of my seat I often start my undergraduate studio classes by asking my students who are usually all art majors why they want to be art majors if not artists almost invariably every student in the class responds with some variation of I want to be an artist because as an artist I can do what I want I can do whatever I want to do sometimes students contrast their experience of making art to their experience working at various other jobs where they were told what to do or what to make by bosses or customers where they have to work at hours and tasks dictated by others sometimes they contrast their experience of their studio art classes to other classes where their instructors dictate their course work often down to the content and process of learning to be tested in exams and term papers were acquired through the training of their bodies and minds in the acquisition of specific disciplinary competencies in art they experience little or none of this beyond the most introductory classes where they might be required to practice basic skills and mixing paint or lighting and printing photographs or using a video camera or a table saw but after the second or third week of their lower division courses the emphasis shifts from acquiring specified skills to developing their own individual ways of applying and even defying those skills according to their own interests intuition or inspiration and my students often identify this emphasis on individual creative development and a sense of being able to do what they want with freedom so what is this freedom so widely associated with visual art can we understand that as a specifically artistic freedom as distinct from for example constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech what these students experience and have come to expect as artistic freedom was not always a characteristic of art and the predominantly European traditions in which they trained social historians of arts such as Margo and Rudolf vit Cour have described the emancipation of painters and sculptors beginning in Renaissance Italy from powerful guilds and demanding patrons must producers of painting sculpture and other forms of visual and material representation toiled in large workshops where their labor was dictated by their masters that is master artisans a few whose names have been recorded now and remembered as artists but these masters themselves worked under the tight control of guilds that enforced artistic as well as moral and economic standards and their creations were largely dictated by ecclesiastic and aristocratic patrons who specified the form as well as content of their work often down to the color schemes most painters and sculptors were subject to the same rules and systems of compensation applied to trades and crafts by the 1600s a few artists successfully argued that their work should be valued according to its ingenuity and not the time it took to make or the cost of the precious minerals Mick to the mediums and claimed a tangible value for their individual creative contribution to and not just execution of the form and content of their work other social historians have argued that it was only with the emergence of the bourgeois art market starting in Holland in the 1600s and spreading to France in England in the following century that liberated artists from the dictates of patrons and guilds the emergence of an art market in which cultural goods circulated as commodities finding buyers where they could rather than being produced on commission effectively separated the process of production from the process of consumption and the direct demands of consumers Larry shiner argues that the Western category of art encompassing painting sculpture music poetry and drama much less free artists as masters of their own labour didn't really emerge until the 1700s through a process identified by the vid cowers as elevation from the rank of mere craftsmen to the level of inspired artists the previously shared attributes of art and artisan were split largely along lines of his hierarchical divisions of manual and intellectual labor artisans were pulled down in the direction of manual laborers as subjects to rules of production for use and the mere copying of nature or design while artists were elevated to the quasi divine heights of creative genius in possession of innate god-given gifts of talent to be realized in the free play of inspiration not the mere skill acquired in earthly training the historian and cultural theorist Raymond Williams describes the emergence of the romantic vision of the artists in the second half of the 18th century as a further differentiation of artists and writers not only from craftsmen but from the emerging classes and industrial commodity producers and workers for the new urban markets as both a defense against down classing and a protest against rationalization and mecha nation mechanization of labour in the new industrial regimes artists who had won a certain independence from religious and aristocratic patrons now began began to assert their independence from the demands and tastes of consumers of industrially produced and mass-marketed goods the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu describes this process of artistic quote emancipation somewhat differently in terms of the emergence of relatively autonomous fields of artistic production that is fields capable of quote imposing its own norms on both the production and consumption of its products and defending off other externally imposed norms and criteria of value including moral political and economic criteria like many other cultural fields including professional scientific and academic fields this autonomous ation involved the development of dedicated institutions of production and reception of training and consecration that could claim the right to self regulation based on their own internal integrity codes of ethics and importance for civil society this included importantly the development of institutions of peer review and of production for other producers who share the same expertise and who are also competitors driving the development of that expertise in ensuring independence from external criteria but the autonomous ation of art was somewhat unique in the ways it manifested in the autonomy of artistic artistic production itself above all with the institution of the pure intention of artists who asserted themselves as the supreme masters of their products this was accomplished in part by artists giving primacy to that over which they are masters to the mode of representation over the object of representation to form manner and style rather than any external reference quote which involves subordination to function even if only the most elementary one that are representing signifying saying something this process of autonomous ation eventually led to what border describes as quote a refusal to recognize any necessity other than that inscribed in the specific traditions of the artistic discipline itself artistic freedom in this form thus developed as a kind of freedom from necessity including the necessity of function and use whether practical or communicative emotional or spiritual political or economic and the necessity of labor and any kind of skill or craft as a basis of value in bourdieu's analysis however this artistic freedom from necessity developed within a complex social dualism that structured a paradoxical parallel between the field of artistic producers and the elite consumers from whom they claimed emancipation but with whom they nevertheless remained joined in relations of patronage artistic freedom from necessity had to be rested by many artists from material in economic need through a lifetime of deprivation in proverbial Gerrits and even sometimes through exile and imprisonment and yet even as they offered even as they offended the bourgeois as well as popular tastes these artists found some support among the very patrons they ostensibly challenged gorgeo supposes that these patrons saw in the artistics freedom's rested from necessity and domination often by economic privation and sacrifice a heroic figure a ssin of their own freedoms from necessity that is the freedom from need afforded by economic privilege and here we arrive at one answer to the riddle of how an art that asserts its freedom from all forms of service and use and its autonomy from all instrumentalities and even avows its radicality in critique could emerge as a favorite instrument of investment if not promotion for many of the political and economic powers it ostensibly abhors it is through what border calls the play of homologies of parallels between the forms of freedom artists claim whether by privilege or privation and other forms of political and economic freedom afforded by political and economic power for example it was through such homologies such parallels in this case in this case between artistic freedoms and the freedoms not only of democracy but of free-market capitalism that through which American art and especially abstract expressionism emerged as an instrument of cold war propaganda with a CIA's covert funding of exhibitions organized by the Museum of Modern Art and circulated internationally to combat pro-communist sentiment in europe and latin america or how more recently with the rise of globalization artists became the poster boys and girls of the joys of global cosmopolitanism wittingly and unwittingly lending their artistic freedoms to the to the legitimation of the freedoms enjoyed and advocated by new global economic elites the freedom from deep from for the freedom of the deregulated movement of capital and goods and of the privileged few with the proper passports or how many artists joined the Occupy movement to protest increasing economic inequality and wealth concentration while they continued to participate in an art market sustained almost exclusively by the point 1% or how today artists joined the resistance to our de facto plutocratic state and it's assault on democratic institutions while continuing to lend our work to the legitimation of plutocratic institutions in our own field such as museums and other nonprofit organizations in which wealth has become the basic criterion for participation in governance only a couple of decades after Bourdieu developed his analysis of autonomous cultural fields he began sounding the alarm to mobilize artists and intellectuals to defend what he saw as growing threats to artistic and intellectual autonomy the weakening of peer-review structures the intrusion of partisan and governmental interests in funding decisions and above all the rise of economic criteria in higher education scientific research publishing and the arts subjugating research across these and other fields to the logic and instrumental reason of financial markets these threats have only intensified in the past few decades today the political threats to freedom of speech and especially of the press as part of a wider assault on democracy seem the most dangerous and I would say the most terrifying and yet from my board your informed perspective I would say that many of the institutions that we see as guardians of our freedoms today have already been weakened from within by that we'll have to wait for the discussion Andrea Fraser everybody in our final presentation this evening and on your ROI good evening everyone I'm so very delighted to be here for this wonderful course Thank You Ann Marie Vik Brett and it's especially wonderful to be on a panel with three women colleagues so I am an urban studies scholar and urban planner I study the organization of power resources and opportunity in relation to the organization of urban space my interest in urban planning is driven not by a concern for beauty or order or efficiency but rather by a passion for social justice I view cities as the terrain of the incomplete project of freedom as places where the unfinished freedom struggles of our times are urgently evident and so my brief remarks this evening are titled freedom is a place a few years ago in Johannesburg I visited clip town the site of South Africa's famed Freedom Charter this charter conceived in 1955 at the Congress of the People stated and I quote that South Africa belongs to all who live in it black and white and that no governments can justly claim Authority unless it is based on the will of the people the Freedom Charter was an expression of fierce opposition to the apartheid regime that had been established in South Africa and that was to last until the 1990s the Charter envisioned a horizon of freedom amidst racial separation and violent oppression there is now a monument in Cape Town commemorating the Freedom Charter complete with the swear a hotel with a bar which serves cocktails named after the main signatories of the Freedom Charter that of course is how freedom is bought and sold under capitalism but what mattered most to me was this that less than half a mile from the Freedom Charter monument were the shacks of the urban majority clip town is a district in Soweto the most famous of the black townships created by the apartheid regime to quarantine and manage black and colored labor today decades after the end of apartheid the shacks remain we were given a tour by Robert who diligently keeps a notebook of all visitors and generously tells the story of each humiliation each deprivation each eviction I like some of you in this room came of political age during the anti-apartheid movement that struggle defines my generation and its ideas of freedom this is from the Mandela house and so Etta when our part I'd ended it seems that the dream of freedom movements from anti-colonialism to civil rights had been fulfilled but the shacks of clip town tell us otherwise invisible in the shadow of freedom monuments they remind us that there is urgent work to be done in all our cities the Sharks of Krypton are an example of what Ruth Wilson Gilmore a geographer and key proponent of abolitionist thought and practice has called forgotten places the title of my brief remarks this evening freedom as a place is also borrowed from Ruthie Gilmore forgotten places she notes have been shaped through organized abandonment they have been redlined marginalized contained erased true state policies in other words abandonment is actively produced much of my scholarship has been about such forms of state violence for example I study how cities around the world Mumbai Rio de Janeiro Jakarta shanghaied by aspire to be world class glittering assemblages of global capital and extravagant consumption but the urban majority of these world-class cities are slum dwellers shack dwellers migrant workers day laborers the paradox of the world-class city is that it expels from it's very premises those who build and service it those who raise its children cook its meals clean its villas and penthouses so you see here satellite images of Pushpa a community on the banks of the river Yamuna in the city of Delhi the capital of India a community of a hundred and fifty thousand residents that was in existence for about thirty years cleared in the blink of an eye for the Commonwealth Games which Delhi hosted in 2010 I can give you countless examples of such evictions of such erasure this is necro politics the politics of death of the anihilation of space of the refusal to let live the refusal to let exists and yet as Ruthie Gilmore reminds us it is in the forgotten places that we can find what she calls the seeds of grassroots planning the demands of such grassroots planning are not just about the right to be in the city the right to shelter the right to water they are above all about freedom I was reminded of this when I arrived in Los Angeles three years ago from Berkeley and had the task establishing the Institute on inequality and democracy here at UCLA Luskin the Institute has benefited from many teachers but two were crucial Robin DG Kelly's part breaking book freedom dreams situated our efforts to advance housing justice D Carr serration debt disobedience educational reparations in the black radical tradition and its commitments to abolition democracy and our second feature the Los Angeles Community Action Network la can which is fought for poor and homeless Angelenos for several decades now from its location in the heart of Skid Row la Canne urged us as well to think about freedom for those of you on Twitter their hashtag is quite straightforward let's get three such freedom dreams are global in scope they connect police violence in the inner city of Los Angeles to that of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro they conceptualize as did the Black Panthers in Oakland of Fernan in the context of the Algerian independence movement a revolutionary humanism that sees ghetto and colony as part of a world system of colonialism and imperialism and that insists on crafting liberation through such global interconnections my own interest in homelessness evictions and housing precarity in the United States was shaped by an encounter many years ago in Kolkata India the city in which I grew up and which was the subject of my doctoral dissertation and face book my research on gendered poverty in urban displacement entailed ethnographic engagement with some of the poorest communities I will ever know those squatting in the liminal spaces of the city with the tenuous hold on livelihood and shelter it was there that one day a young man called Ranjan decided that it was time for him to ask me some questions after having put up for about a year with my questions and he wanted to ask me questions about America the richest country in the world he asked among other things the following other people like us there I have heard that there lots of homeless in America how can that be the case why doesn't the government simply allow them to take over vacant lands like we have to build homes on base citizens don't they have rights in the face of all my explanations Ranjan insisted if one is a citizen one can't be homeless Ron John's question has stayed with me because it not only exposes the lie of American prosperity but also the lie of liberal democracy and its assumptions of freedom so it is with Ron John's question and minds that I want to including turn to Los Angeles and provide you with a glimpse of some of the issues that animate my current research in the United States the unfinished project of freedom is closely linked to questions of space and place the sociologist Douglas Massey who co-authored a vitally important book titled American apartheid reminds us that residential segregation is the linchpin of racial stratification in the United States the history of urban planning in twentieth-century America is the story of how the segregation was produced and maintained suburban expansion went hand in hand with the redlining of black and brown communities here is one of the many redlining maps produced by a federal government agency the homeowners Loan Corporation in the 1930s for Los Angeles consider this map alongside this one of environmental racism and you will begin to understand why Lucy Gilmore reminds us that racism is I quote the state sanctioned production of group differentiated vulnerability to premature death today the places once inhabited by redlined communities are the frontiers of gentrification south los angeles Boyle Heights working-class communities of color are being pushed to the far edges of urban life to the Inland Empire to Antelope Valley they are being pushed there not only by high rents but also through a whole set of municipal ordinances that criminalize poverty and in particular criminalize low-income renter households so did you know that in the city of Los Angeles it is now illegal to live in your car did you know that we are in a tech a tenant in a building governed by a nuisance abatement ordinance you might be evicted if you have called 911 once during the year this is not market driven displacement I call it racial banishment and it is part of a long history of the forced removal of people of color from settler colonial occupation and slavery to urban renewal to today's militarized borders but it is on the face of such racial banishment that poor people's movements in cities such as Los Angeles are insisting on freedom in exactly two weeks from now California will work both on proposition 10 which if it passes will repeal statewide restrictions on rent control tenants have been organizing to build rent a power and to remind us that the rent is too damn high communities from Los Angeles from South LA to Santa Ana are creating community land Trust's and reactivating lost histories of collectivism in Boyle Heights social movements are fighting gentrification and displacement including the influx of hipster coffee shops and art galleries in the words of La can lets get free my work as a scholar and the work we try to do at the Institute on inequality and democracy proceeds from a commitment to abolition democracy by abolition I do not simply mean the end of the prison industrial complex I mean abolition as redistribution reparation revolution and above all what W EB Dubois in 1935 described as black reconstruction a new state a new public imagination built through the uprising of those who have been denied freedom those who have been denied personhood this is as post-colonial theorist Paul Gilroy notes history from the slaves standpoint this is freedom from the standpoint of forgotten places my closing point is this there is we do this work there is no obvious solidarity between academia and banish'd communities our public university itself stands on occupied lands land expropriated from indigenous communities we scholars of freedom are embedded in the institutions of racial capitalism and so I leave you with this thought that if we the public university are to participate in freedom dreams then we also have to insist on decolonizing the University on the decolonization of knowledge on a reconstruction our cannon on a reckoning with who gets to be at the University and on what terms for the students in the class you might recall that one of the assignments I asked you to consider was to listen to a bit of hip-hop and I hope you did that yes I asked you to listen to a song by the rapper J Cole a song called neighbors which speaks to the theme of racial banishment and the limits of integration J Cole belongs to a tradition of hip-hop that foregrounds what Michelle Alexander has called the new Jim Crow the forms of causality and criminalization that perpetuate racial segregation in the United States in his latest album kod Jake own raps about knowledge and power about a curriculum that tricks us he says one thing about the men that's controlling the pen that write history they always seem to white out their sins to dream of freedom means changing who controls the pen it means getting very serious about urban histories and urban futures that Center forgotten places thank you everyone and on your eye thank you thank you everyone and for a guests and for fantastic presentations I'd like to mix it up for just a minute after four terrific presentations – take a deep breath let's take two minutes each of us in the room are sitting next to someone else and if you could lean over to someone sitting next to you and ask them a question take a deep breath if you'd like stand up for a minute and shake it out we're gonna bring some microphones around and open up the conversation to everybody in the room but more than anything and for students especially to begin to animate the conversation around some of the terrific ideas that were just present presented here on the stage let's take two minutes everybody if you'd like get up and shake around for a minute and then we'll carry on bring the microphones back online and I'd like to ask after those terrific presentations I'm going to turn to to our guests this evening – maybe to see if there's something that's come up between your presentations that give you a thought or the basis for a question to one another Shauna you were leaning in like specific set of questions for Lauren so you know I was I was thinking one way to interpret your work is that it for me it kind of shows some of the difference between creativity and freedom because it's such a remarkably creative set of interventions and ideas but I was wondering from your perspective while you were following people or while you were assisting them in get Lauren did you feel free and how did you help your subjects retain or regain their independence after this kind of hierarchical relationship with you I think what made those performances work was that it it was actually more complicated than just me I'm in control because on one hand yes I see them and they don't see me or I'm controlling everything and I could do whatever I want but on the other hand and maybe because of the role I chose to take in the performance I'm tethered to them so they move wherever they want and I have to run after them and try to catch that bus or you know they're just sitting there watching TV and every once in a while they asked me to like make them some popcorn and I'm sitting on the edge of my seat kind of like waiting for the next thing they might want it's maybe there's an eight hour time difference because they're in another country and you know I'm up at 3 a.m. so I think that that relationship of us both having some amount of control and some amount of lack of it bound us together and and made it more complicated than just one person watching another and I think maybe that's trying to get at some of these systems of control and surveillance that were within like yes so maybe Google's watching or the government or whoever but even those networks are so complicated that's not it's not so simple right the the structures that are put in place and who holds the power and so I think trying to start to pull apart that messiness and understand but would you end up agreeing with me or resisting that your your work kind of shows that innovation and freedom are not identical it's highly innovative highly innovative relationship not free on either end and that you can be on the bottom of a power relationship or on the top of a power relationship and neither can be free because some of what you've said just suggests that I'm wondering if if you agree yeah I would agree and I think the other part to that there's even if you're on the bottom there's place to find creativity and that may or may not satisfy a desire for freedom but it's I think it's something it's some sense of agency that's that's more than nothing well if I could maybe jump in there because I would say that you are in acting your artistic freedom in that work as well as creativity in the way that you framed it initially which is freedom within constraints that you yourself construct although they're not entirely constructed by you but they're chosen constraints so within that work even if you take up a position that is constrained or not necessarily in control or entirely free it's your own construction within your own sort of system your own artistic system which you yourself are constructing within your you know freedom as an artist so that's how I would how I would understand I think there's another part which I didn't you know there's another part of the explanation around these projects which is especially when you're using some of these technologies like there are the the creative act itself might have some freedom to it but I am you know for example putting an app in the App Store and just to get the app in there was this whole process of negotiation and then by doing so maybe I've outsmarted Apple and I've got my slightly subversive app into their store but I'm prop I'm holding up and continuing the system right where they get to say which software is accessible to users which is appropriate which is not one of the the points that comes up in in Shauna's presentation that's echoed in in a couple of the others is the idea that that freedom is and is a concept that evolves it isn't just a thing or a fixed moment it's in the legal sense it's a it's a set of principles that have all been change in time in a disciplinary sense the arts as we know them go through changes agreed on by larger audiences or members of the community and I'm just wondering how that the that kind of a notion might relate to where and how those communities sit within cities physically including the idea of the arts themselves is evolving communities in different parts of the city and then the relative degrees to which freedom or aren't available to those members but you know that partly for me underlying that is sort of something that is perhaps more foundational and that goes back to the closing points of Shauna's presentation the closing point of andreas presentation so Shauna you left us with what I thought was a very beautiful and optimistic call to think about deliberative speech and the ways in which we might be able to listen even to that which is not spoken and and particularly in the context for example of strike an Andrea ended with with the current historical conjuncture in which we find ourselves and and with a particular particular regime in place and the various assault on them on the most basic of democratic freedoms and I'm wondering then what it means to think about and this is rather obvious and perhaps cliched question about what are then means for us to think about freedom of speech and who is entitled to the freedom of speech but also what that means then if we are to listen carefully and to speak with and even listen to silence so it's one thing I'm gonna say this very bluntly and crudely it's one thing when it's striking workers with whom we feel solidarity and who we see as making possible as you note our approach are our intellectual work and it's another when it's right-wing nationalists or is it not well I think it's really important to listen and not to think that listening is a sign of agreement but that we can't make progress together until we understand each other and that does involve trying to figure out why people think what they do and so I do think it includes listening to right-wing nationalists and also responding to them directly and candidly but yeah I am gonna I'm gonna take that view no now I ask this because it's related to the question that Brigid asked me because in in in sort of the communities that I was talking about we talk about banishment communities that have faced organized abandoned abandonment they would argue that certain forms of speech and action have sought to erase them as we are seeing with you know the erasure of transgender identity and people personhood right so this is the dispossession not only of land in cities but this is the dispossession of personhood it's a sort of violence it's an erasure of the very grounds of existence simcha so I'm trying to figure out what listening in those contexts mean given this sort of profound inequality which to me is at the very core of liberal democracy so how then do we listen or particularly if the means of communication which in this case we might call the media in the United States are also thoroughly eroded how then what are the what are the spheres within which we listen what are the means through which we might be able to listen well I agree with you that the corporate control of the media as well as the normalization of positions that are associated with the ratio of communities is appalling and an aspect of changing that is to engage in a variety of forms of antitrust of the media to look at greater sources I encourage everyone to read different newspapers than the ones they normally read not just because there are lots of stories that are not being told but because you need to understand what other people are thinking and reading and consuming and then asking people what stories do you think aren't being told why aren't they being told why don't you know the answer to that question why didn't you know before you came tonight that it's become illegal to live in your car how is that not something that was on the front page of the LA Times and I think starting to everyone demanding to know these things and engaging in legal reform is part of the way I would try to approach that one of the points very much touched on in brilliant different ways across the four presentations is almost a plea for forms of agency I mean that listening in fact is that can be thought of as a form of agency in its own way that it that action is we know it might sit in how we operate within discipline in relation to contemporary technologies in a in a complex urban space like a global city and you know that's one of the things that's being touched on in the design of a course like that like this one to think of a member of an audience as a part as is a form of agency and and not simply a setting for a spectacle or on an event to play out to be simply received by members of that community but that to come together in a room is a kind of agency that allows for the asking of questions in addition to whatever one might be put on the stage to kickoff a larger conversation I use that all as a little segue to what I hope has taken place while the conversation has begun here which is we've got a couple of microphones that ought to be moving around the room already I ask you to take a minute to rehearse a couple of questions or to comment to one another your neighbors Dubai about about things that you've seen and heard I'm gonna ask the students especially to kick off the kind of questions that can carry the conversation forward please well um so my question is for everyone on the panel if we believe we're free does it actually confine us and not allow us to see how we impose surveillance on ourselves and not allow us to see how we internalize and regurgitate capitalism and other oppressive institutions so in a sense how can we critique when we are in Plato's cave and perhaps have no real conception of freedom the question was a bit hard to hear so the microphone closed in the first part of the question especially was hard to so if we believe we're free does it actually confine us and not allow us to see how we impose surveillance on ourselves and not allow us to see how we internalize and regurgitate capitalism and other oppressive institutions that was easier to hear the second version I could still use a repetition of the question I am finding the acoustics really difficult but maybe my guys might have heard it freedom in the context of being embedded in capitalism right how can we think of ourselves as free if we are very much a part of these systems of capitalism is that the question I'm sorry to oversimplify it but all right ok yeah I'll start by saying a couple of standard things none of us will be free until all of us are free we're not going to experience full freedom until everyone is correctly empowered to live their lives but we can appreciate a part of freedom by exercising our imagination and our critical thinking to imagine what it would be like to live with each other in a better way so I would follow on that so one of the concepts I like using in my work is I try to think about whether abolitionists urban planning is possible and whether it's possible to be at the public university which I see is an institution of racial capitalism and is it possible for us to advance the work of social justice is a concept becomes birth from post-colonial theory and from black studies is the idea of doubleness that we are on the one hand hogs in the machine and yet we have the possibilities of insurgency right that we are part of the system and yet we have the ability to say no right to these structures of power and you know that is not as simple as individual agency for me this has to do with project of collaboration and solidarity with the freedom struggles that we enlist ourselves in and that we insist on becoming a part of and on thinking about how the very terrain of disciplines has been shaped by these struggles and therefore when we belong we're not just belonging as Andres presentation made it clear to a generic notion of capitalism but to the ways in which our very fields of inquiry have been shaped by this political economy so I'm very interested in the ways in which I see myself not as innocent but very much a part of these systems and yet from within it from the very heart of imperial power or racial capitalism being able to not only advance a critique but think about imaginations and practices of liberation but as I said for me personally that comes through the difficult and patient work of solidarity with what I called forgotten places so my tradition of practice is institutional critique which I understand as a kind of critically reflexive critique of one's own interests and investments and privileges in the specific fields and institutions of one's activity and the way that I think about the possibility of that partly it's a possibility that's rooted in oh is what's a partial freedom a relative freedom a relative autonomy of you know one field relative to another field of a particular set of practices or values or discourses or institutions as they develop in relationship to other field so that's why I went down that road in my you know in my presentation but so minoo with a sort of working with a notion of you know relative autonomy and applying it to freedom within the framework of capitalism yeah how do I do that exactly you know to the extent that we're that that that we're up here with our particular discourses about you know freedom rather their disciplinary or politically routed we're up here because we're enabled by the conditions and traditions of this institution and our individual fields or particular fields to develop and articulate those critiques and no it's not a total freedom it's a relative freedom within a set of constraints that we have to challenge ourselves to work with them to test to reproduce to defend to the greatest extent that we can from my perspective in in an embedded sort of site-specific and also reflexive way because as sort of pressing and and and and and and and and terrifying the threats from outside of our field and institutions are I think those threats you know the the the the threats from within our institutions that weaken our institutions and make them vulnerable to attacks from white supremacists that make them vulnerable to corruption by plutocrats are in fact the threats that that we have the power to engage most directly and most effectively yeah I think if we're talking about freedom in a sense of free will even if you take off capitalism or you take off a particular government or political structure just the X tations that we have of each other socially our limit us right I'm not like rolling on the ground right now I'm sitting in a chair just like everyone else so I think maybe it's more helpful to think about agency or as Andrea said like what can we change and so maybe yes you're not free of the system of capitalism you're not free of the inequalities that we have all around us but if you can start to see them then you can also start to see like what what can you change what can you do so what actions is there some freedom to maneuver terrific I saw you right here yeah yeah yeah thank you I just wanna say I love public education thank you ladies for fortifying it in California so I'm a two-time Bruin when Tali USD and I'm a teacher in LAUSD now so our teachers are heading into a strike with more and more momentum each week and we're taking issue with the encroachment of big business and K through 12 public education specifically so right it seems incompatible you have big business where the primary principle is greed over everything else and public education where it's human development before anything else so let me ask you given this encroachment of big business in K through 12 public education what are the links between public education and freedom in a democracy and I also want to say professor Roy as I was listening to you I couldn't help but reminisce on professor Jacqueline Levitt at rest in peace yet a tremendous impact on me and you too professor sure Frank do you guys understand my question or should I okay they got it thank you I'll go first again yes and you asked about what we think about the relationship between public education and democratic freedom I won't speak for everyone else but I'll say that I think it is one of the most important foundational aspects of a democracy that we fund all of our citizens as children and all residents as children to be together to be together and to learn together and the reason why that's vitally important is because we're then going to try to cooperate together and govern together the whole point of a democracy is that you live with one another and cooperate with one another and the ideal of public education is to introduce all different kinds of people to each other and to give them new experiences that are different than the experiences that they get in their own home that is to ask children to learn how to cooperate with one another just based on the fact that they're residents and so I think that the that you can't really have a vital democracy unless you have a vital public education system that everyone is asked to be a part of but it will only work and this relates to Ananya's work I if we don't allow residential segregation to introduce the separation that public education is supposed to solve and I grew up in Los Angeles and I was part of the desegregation movement and it is one of the best things that ever happened to me getting on a bus and meeting people from different neighborhoods and different walks of life was the most important part of my education as a person and I think one of the worst things that we did was to eliminate desegregation in education and to fail to solve residential segregation I agree so I just wanted to I wanted to build on that because defending and fighting for quite literally the public university has been for me one of the most important things I do in my career so I was on the faculty at Berkeley when the massive tuition hikes happened and we were quite literally on strike at the barricades in solidarity with students and workers as they occupied buildings on campus and I think that those uprisings were important because it made it clear to the state legislature that we were not going to be defeated that we were going to fight for higher public education and I say this at the same time as we were also fighting for the decolonization of the University so we recognized precisely that while we're defending public education we had to think about the ways in which residential segregation then shapes the nature of public education as we fight for the public university we've got to think about who gets to be at the public university and does this really look like the state of California and if not then how do we change that but the point of the reason why I smiled when you ask that question is because I entered by referring to the work of Dubois and to the idea black reconstruction and one of the most beautiful passages in that book written in 1935 is when Dubois talks about schools public schools as a shining example of black reconstruction the story he tells is of how in the south after emancipation with the formation of the Freedmen's Bureau there was a hunger among freed slaves for education for their children and what existed primarily in the south were not what he calls the common school of the public school and this is out of the meager resources of the Freedmen's Bureau that we get in the American South the public school as we now know it in the south and for all children of all races and all classes and he talks about sort of a state a reconstruction built out of the uprising of the black man with these dreams of freedom and for him then the formation of the public school in the part of the country where it didn't have precedent was one of the most important parts of Reconstruction and democracy I have a question over here over here so I think that one thing that connects all of the four speakers is that a desire for freedom or a desire to step outside of the social economic and political systems that restrict that freedom but I think my question is is how can we find freedom within that or can we find freedom at all hi I'd like to ask a follow-up question to that because it seems like all of these things and talking about freedom we have to talk about bravery and like the opposite side of that like fear so how do you face up to fear when you're like handling these situations when you're putting yourself on like the brink of what's your security to face up against some of these issues that's such a great question and I think it it sort of begins to gives us a different angle on the questions we're hearing so Shawna raised Colin Kapernick for a while my pinned tweet was about what it might mean for social justice oriented urban planners to take a knee what would be the sacrifices that we are willing to undertake because his act of defiance his insistence on on on making visible black death has come at a price and one can say of course now it's all been made right by Nike and let's not talk about Nike and racial capitalism right but that asides it's quite clear right the Kapernick will not play football again in the NFL and what it's made evident is of course the plantation economy that the NFL is so he's he's taken a knee and there's been a sacrifice and so I think that is a very important question Iran what other sacrifices and once these extraordinary sacrifices on the front lines of freedom I'm very interested often in what tenured faculty who I think are some of the most protected livelihoods and bodies in the country at the moment what is the need that we are we willing to take a knee and for what purpose [Applause] all right hello and thank you to everyone for sharing their perspectives on freedom this question is primarily to Professor Roy but I'm feel free for anyone to answer it what role does architecture play in designing more equitable and more free cities and you're asking the person who's not an architect you know this there's always this this fight between architects and urban planners about who produces the city and I hope you all noticed his Dodgers t-shirt yeah okay so I think the question about the role of architects or urban planners goes back to the questions we've heard repeatedly so if we think about architecture and urban planning as professions and disciplines that have a history somewhat different than perhaps the history of art but if we subject them to the same sort of institutional critique then we arrive at a quite dismal place around their role in designing equitable cities so I can't speak about and for architectures could particularly can't speak for architecture and speak about it but let me talk about urban planning and particularly because this quarter I'm teaching the histories and theories of urban planning class that all first-year master students in urban planning and all first-year PhD students take and my students keep wanting me to give them a message of hope and I I'm like there is no hope so for me that place of agency if and to call it that comes from a place of critique and historicize ation that recognizes that the landscapes of segregation that my students and i want to dismantle were produced by our profession right these weren't unintended effects this weren't oops we made a mistake this was the intention of urban planning for much of the 20th century and if we start from that place then we get to a different set of discussions about the agency of urban planning and urban planners in building equitable landscapes one of the things I'm very interested in at the moment taking a cue from the movement for black lives and their national platform is how we must think about reparations and I'd like to think about reparations not just as acts in relation to specific communities but what might it mean for the discipline and profession of urban planning to make reparations for the redlining and environmental racism that we produced if that's a starting point how then do we think differently about our role in producing equitable cities not as good intentions not as benevolence right but from a place that recognizes our history in producing segregation I had a question over here so there are a few comments that I heard you guys make from the questions and also from the speakers about how there's no possible way that we can be free until everyone has freedom but I personally think that with all the unspoken rules in society and the beliefs that people have in their own operand definitions of freedom there's no way for all of those things to align so I'm not saying that there's a point in giving up that fight for freedom but do you think there's freedom in resistance sure well what I meant to be saying is that I don't think we can fully achieve our potential to be free together until everyone is enabled for example to live free of intense material insecurity or the risk of discrimination or coercion or domination but all of us in a variety of ways can be partly free we can exercise freedom of thought we can exercise freedom of speech to limited degrees right subject to a variety of insidious influences on our minds throughout vert izing through limited channels of communication but we all have that ability to engage in various forms of freedom including resistance and the way I like to be a little more hopeful perhaps is to think that we probably aren't going to achieve full justice in our lifetime but we're going to see progress if we try and we try as a collective and contributing to our freedom and the freedom of future generations is a way of being free it's a way of being part of a historical project that culminates in justice assuming we solve the climate change problem but all these efforts to be free are I agree with you an aspect of exercising freedom and I want to say just one other thing to the person who asked the question about bravery I want to say that all of you who have spoken have been very brave I know that it's very hard as a student to talk I'm a shy person it's hard for me to be here mm-hmm but although you might start thinking about the large sacrifices you might make I want to encourage you to use the freedom that you have you all have the freedom to participate in classes to talk to friends to talk to colleagues to talk to faculty members and all of those conversations where you ask what's on your mind rather than what you think you should say are always you can start to kind of push the envelope and ask yourself what am I really going to be free to be able to do and you'll practice being a citizen and participating in this collective project of aspiring deliberation I have a question and over here hi so my question was mostly from Lauren's work about sort of subverting the messages that the software industry gives us and I was I was just wondering if any of you guys really had an opinion about the contrast between the the message that the tech industry gives us which is that we're giving you this new gadget it's gonna free you and the actual effects that the industry has on the communities its embedded in which tends to be this very extreme social stratification between the engineers who work there and the people who live in the communities that are now being displaced yes I think it's huge crowd problem I think one of the things that the industry has worked really hard to do is to make to elevate the people making these technologies to make them seem very elite when actually a lot of you are sort of hackers already in the way that you figure out how to use your apps and it doesn't work or there's an update and you figure out how to re-appropriate it for your own purpose or maybe some of you have learned to code or learn to design or learn to build things and so it's not that different but they want to draw this line between a user and a developer or a user and a producer and I think the one of the best things we can do is to start breaking down that line because as soon as that doesn't exist yeah because as soon as that doesn't exist then it doesn't make it sense anymore for just a small group of people to live in Silicon Valley or you know actually San Francisco right can I just say that as someone who doesn't study technological capitalism but studies cities in which technological capitalism takes root I mean on the one hand we can think about the forms of enclosure that have been put at work I mean an enclosure of the digital Commons but an enclosure of our cities so I spent much of my academic career in Berkeley and Oakland and San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area has been devastated by technological capitalism right the forms of gentrification and displacement there have been there have been unleashed not just simply by technological capitalism as in big tech companies but the state subsidies right to these companies are incredible and there are some very important propositions on the ballot local propositions on the ballot in in San Francisco coming up particularly around attacks on text tech companies that would help fund shelters for the homeless and the CEOs of some of our favorite companies and I'm thoroughly complicit here because I used Twitter all the time but the CEO of Twitter and others have had some of the most horrible things to say about about homeless men and women and have taken very strong positions against any sort of taxation attack wealth particularly to help those who are facing housing precarity and homelessness so this remains a very real concern sort of the Silicon Valley effect if you will on some of the sort of processes that I was talking about earlier today everywhere I'm going to have to wrap it up now I've just had a chance to see the clock I want to thank everybody for coming in this evening as we do every week I'd like to to close the session and turn to our guests to see if any of you have anything to say is a closing statement offer you the opportunity say something if it hasn't been said yet and otherwise we will close the evening out is there anything that any of you'd like to I guess I just wanted to say that I've been sitting here feeling like the vastness of the collective inequality and disparity is sometimes overwhelming and this this question of how can we be free until everyone's free and when is that going to happen and where's the hope and I think for me too thinking about my own work you know a lot of it comes out it's I'm obsessed with this idea of control and sort of social expectation and a lot of that comes out of an experience of when I was a really young child and I felt coerced into doing something you know by an older adult and ever since just fascinated by this idea that nobody was holding me down but I felt I no other option and so for me sometimes I see myself playing out the same dynamic I'm setting up these systems or someone can control me and I've made that kind of set this all up for myself in some way and on one hand I could think that it's twisted and then the other hand I think well I found some way to have some piece of control back some sense of agency even if I'm really playing out these same scenes I have some hand in it now so maybe one thing I've been thinking about with all this conversation is we absolutely need to keep thinking about how do these larger systems how what role can we play with that in them and how can we change them at the same time how can you get a handle on something so that you do feel like you have a sense of power to actually enact a change thank you well there's a question after question of how can we be free how can we find freedom and I was coming to this from a kind of critical perspective on freedom that is the forms of freedom and discourses of freedom that are also highly ideological and partial and have existed over centuries as forms of privilege so the important point of we can't be free until everyone's free I was on a panel years ago about censorship that wasn't picketed but leaflet 'add by adjunct faculty who were trying to organize and I began that statement by quoting Eugene Debs the American socialists who said famously God what did he say Danno I can't remember oh come on oh don't do this to me the last line is as long as there is a soul and chain as long as there was a man in Chains I am NOT free but as long as there is a lower-class I am of it as long as there is a criminal element I am in it as long as there was a man in Chains I am NOT free I just want to say the following um these are such important topics and I've been kind of urging that we think about more conversation and the the question that the student asked reminded me of the fact that technology has empowered conversations between us internationally and nationally and immediately in ways mm-hmm that were inconceivable 40 or 50 years ago but it has also created intense social expectations of certain kinds of immediate exchange and there's an argument to be made that the quality of our discourse has really deteriorated we write fewer letters we write quicker emails we write 160 character communications and it there's another side to the technological capitalism which is that all of these changes were made in a non democratic way and mostly by companies for their own profit and it's worth thinking a little bit about democracy and bringing democracy to corporations as a way to think about improving the discourse between us but more practically because some of you want a practical thing let me just say this it feels weird that we've been having this conversation about conversations but very few of us in the room of talked if anyone wants to talk to me about this stuff you're welcome to come to my office hours but there on the web I'd love to meet you and talk to you and hear what you thought thank you thank you closing so I wanted to end with a very flawed form of freedom that we live with and which serves as the premise for this sort of gathering which is academic freedom and with the width sort of the ascendance of mr. forty-five I refused to call him president I think it's become ever more apparent to me that academic freedom is important precious it's always been thoroughly limited and as I said deeply flawed and yet in many ways the power that we hold is that of academic freedom not just those of us who are tenured faculty but in belonging to the incredibly powerful knowledge producing institution we are a part of academic freedom and I would ask us to think about how we use that freedom to make possible wider projects of freedom thank you thank you thank you everybody so much for coming in please join me in thinking short on Draya Lauren and an onion for coming in this evening for a terrific conversation thank you everybody we will see you next Tuesday you