ANS Leest: On Freedom – On Art, Sex, Drugs, and Climate

Dutch translation of a new and exciting collection of articles About freedom – in art, sex, drugs and climate, Back. Culture critic Maggie Nelson knows how to explore topics in a layered and nuanced manner in four essays that invite the reader to free themselves from entrenched ideas.

Nelson gained international fame with her gender bending vice president notes, ArgonautsOn topics such as queer motherhood, psychoanalysis, and art. These topics are also reflected in the main themes of her latest collection of articles. in about freedom It examines the art world’s twisted debates, the consequences of sexual “liberation,” the paradox of freedom, drugs and addiction, and finally deals with the meaning of freedom on a declining planet.

Multi-layered predicament

about freedom It tends to be a traditional collection of articles, based on scientific knowledge and philosophical works. One of the strengths of the work is that Nelson uses multiple thinkers and viewpoints to shed light on topics. This diversity of perspectives gives the book rich layers. Today, Nielson first and foremost interprets the discourse on freedom from the perspective of language, modeled on Wittgenstein. According to Wittgenstein, the meaning of a word is formed by its use in language. The topics are then interpreted on the basis of historical and cultural roots.

Nelson occasionally blows high out of the ivory tower with this.

However, the deluge of thinkers and their terminology is also a quandary. The accumulation of these, despite Hoekmeijer’s skilful translation, detracts from the readability of the work. An additional caveat is that Nelson seems to assume that this is general knowledge, which is not unless you are in a university or cultural standing. For example, remember concepts from the teachings of philosophers Hanna Arendt and Michel Foucault. It is interesting, but no other explanation follows. With this said, Nelson occasionally blows too high out of the ivory tower, while her work revolves largely around the friction between (non)freedom and inclusivity.

Prohibited criticism

The work is very stimulating because Nelson does not shy away from pressing but pressing issues, but rather addresses them by means of modern and concrete anecdotes. Issues such as slavery, the AIDS epidemic, Like me Motherhood and childbearing on degraded land. This is what you call work casket open By white artist Dana Schutz depicting Emmett Till in his coffin. Till is a 14-year-old African-American boy who was summarily executed in Mississippi in 1955. The main question was whether the white artist was allowed to depict the painful subject of black history. Riots broke out and the black art community called for the work to be removed. Nelson rightly points out that in such discussions a wrong starting point is often taken, confusing critical response with prohibition. In this case, it is required to prevent the work from entering the museum. This avoids substantive discussion and silences critics.

The action is provocative because Nelson does not shy away from pressing issues, but rather seizes them.

Lack of freedom of sexual pleasure

Lack of moral judgment is a feature about freedom. Nelson’s strength lies in creating a safe space for wonder and radical freedom of thought. It provides the reader with a precise, historical, and meticulously formulated context, but it does not provide a definitive judgment. It thus invites the reader to enrich his own, perhaps direct, convictions with nuances in an informed manner. This is more obvious than ch The story of sexual optimism. It makes clear that the term freedom in sexual activities has been problematic. With the #MeToo movement in mind, Nelson writes, it is understandable that mainly women reject the discourse of sexual liberation. On the other hand, these women insist on sexual violence and unequal power relations everywhere. Nelson doesn’t take sides, but says it’s important not only to portray them as victims, but also to focus on their desires and pleasure.

Nelson creates a space in which ideas can coexist. Her fresh, subtle observations across all subjects show that many things about freedom are not black and white, but that all shades in between can coexist simultaneously. It does so without blowing high off the tower with a moral judgment, despite professional jargon suggesting it. Nelson provides space for multiple perspectives in her work and gives the reader the freedom to form his or her own opinions.

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