From neoliberalism to new forms of political communality. A discussion with Thomas Decreus, Tine Hens, Jan Masschelein and Willem Schinkel, moderated by Rudi Laermans

This is a panel discussion on the notion of 'public interest' and its erosion in contemporary politics. The discussion addresses questions such as: what can politics/the political still mean in a normalized, neoliberal context which on all levels prefers ‘the private’ over the 'public'? What new forms of communality can be devised to counter hegemonic neoliberalism?

democracy – neoliberalism – public interest


Wim Cuyvers – On the private and the proper. A cursive rereading of Max Stirner's Der Einzige und sein Eigentum

Starting off from a consideration of Max Stirner's book Der Einzige und sein Eigentum [The Individual and his Property], Cuyvers reflects on the relation between the private (what we possess) on the one hand and, on the other, our 'ownness' (that which is 'our own' in the most intimate sense of the word). He concludes that, paradoxically, public space is the only place where individuals who fully accept their 'ownness' can meet.

privacy – public space – Max Stirner


Rixt Woudstra – The privatization of the public interior. On The Public Interior as Idea and Project by Mark Pimlott

This is a review of Mark Pimlott's recent book The Public Interior as Idea and Project, which is based on a series of lectures given at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. Central to the book is the importance for public space of the public interior (i.e. indoor public spaces formed by architecture), and how this 'interior' dominates our perception of public space.

Mark Pimlott – public space


A discussion on public museums and private museums, collections and foundations with Joost Declercq, Fieke Konijn, Caroline Roodenburg-Schadd and Lieven Van Den Abeele, moderated by Rudi Laermans and Dirk Pültau

In recent years and decades several private museums, foundations and art centres have opened their doors in the Netherlands and Belgium. This discussion searches for explanations for this phenomenon and poses questions like: why are collectors opening their own museums? Why don't they donate their collections to public museums anymore? Are the public functions of state museums being taken over by the private sector? Is art historical research becoming privatized?

art market – museum history – private museums – public museums


Arnold Witte – on corporate art collections

This text reflects on corporate art collections and the development of this phenomenon since World War II. Witte focuses on the recent tendency for the 'individualization' of these collections: while earlier corporate collections were presented as a contribution to society under the name of a company, in recent times more and more of them are presented under the name of the director of the company himself.

art market – corporate art collections


Erwin Jans – Inmprisoned Seed

This is a concise review of the theatre performance Privacy by Dutch theatre companies Wunderbaum and De Warme Winkel, which addresses the excessive exposure of the intimate in today's art and society.

intimacy — privacy – theatre


Katleen Gabriels – The inversion of private and public: the subject in online space

In the digital age the personal is becoming increasingly public, to the point where one could wonder if a 'private subject' still exists. In this text Katleen Gabriels explores some aspects of this reversal of the private and the public in the context of social media and the internet in general.

Facebook – intimacy – social media


Sven Vitse – ‘Suddenly you become a writer's family in the eyes of others.’ The self-presentation of Daan Heerma van Voss

This is an analysis of Dutch writer Daan Heerma van Voss’ appearances and self-representation in newspaper interviews and articles written for the literary periodical Das Magazin. Vitse explores how Van Voss deals with the media-interest in his personal and family background and how this representation relates to his autobiographical writing.

Daan Heerma van Voss – Dutch literature


Rudi Laermans – Public Intimacy. On the work of Tracey Emin

Laermans explores Tracey Emin’s exploitation of her intimate life in her art, while at the same time reflecting on how such an emotional exposure is mediated by clichés and codes of authenticity. Laermans concludes that her work – similar to melodrama – can be characterized as ‘enlightened emotionalism’: it combines personal emotion with conscious exposure of the codes and conventions that trigger emotional response.

British art – contemporary art – Tracey Emin