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10 Questions: What is Freedom?

Sketch of the Ridge with Laguna Peak Tracking Station, 2016. Marker and pencil on paper | Jena Lee
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"10 Questions" is a collaboration with UCLA and is an interdisciplinary course/public event series featuring conversations with leading scholars that provides both students and the public a special opportunity to experience the conversations that drive innovation at the university. 

Every Tuesday for ten weeks UCLA faculty members from disciplines as diverse as dance, medicine, photography, astrophysics, athletics, Chicana and Chicano studies, law, philosophy and religious studies will join UCLA Arts Dean Brett Steele to explore a fundamental question such as: What is space? What is failure? and What is freedom? The goal is to stimulate dialogue and exchange, and to seed a greater understanding of the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of knowledge production in the 21st century. We present a discussion primer for each week's session to get the conversation started.

Art&Arc100: 10 Questions sessions will be held on Tuesdays through December 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Glorya Kaufman Hall theater (room 200). Free and open to the public (RSVP required). Pay by space parking available on campus adjacent to Kaufman Hall (Structure 4).

Important update for this week's 10 Questions event:

The UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture has changed the time and location of this week's session in response to a campus wide workers strike. The event will move to the Marymount High School Pavilion, located just across Sunset Boulevard from the UCLA campus, and will begin at 7pm to allow extra time for students and the public to arrive at the new venue. Parking is available on the Marymount campus free of charge.

The change of venue is an acknowledgment of workers concerns and signifies respect for the call by University of California's Patient Care Technical workers as well as the UC Service, Professional Healthcare, Research and Technical workers represented by UPTE-CWA who plan to strike from October 23–25.

10 Questions: What is Freedom?
Tuesday, October 23, 7pm–9pm
The Pavilion at Marymount High School (10643 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90077)

Onsite parking available, free of charge

This week, Andrea Fraser, Lauren McCarthy, Ananya Roy, and Seana Shiffrin will join Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts & Architecture to explore the question, "What is Freedom?"

Great Wall Project Hero
Great Wall Project

Andrea Fraser, artist

Chair and Professor, Interdisciplinary Studio at UCLA Department of Art

Andrea Fraser has been identified with institutional critique, feminist practice, group relations, project-based art, and context art. She has worked in performance, video, installation, sound, text, and a range of other mediums. Fraser work has been seen at major museums and galleries around the world, and her writings have been published in books and magazines. Her books include Andrea Fraser: Works 1984-2003 (Dumont and Kunstverein Munich, 2003); Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser (MIT Press, 2005); Texts, Scripts, Transcripts (Walther Koenig Verlag and Museum Ludwig Cologne, 2013); and Andrea Fraser (Hatje Cantz and Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2015). Fraser was a founding member of the feminist performance group, The V-Girls (1986-1996).


Green Justice Monuments: Diversity, Democracy and Freedom

Monuments should reflect the diversity of a place and its people. People of color, women, and Native Americans have been vital to the creation of Los Angeles. Yet with over 1,000 official cultural and historical landmarks in the City of Los Angeles, only about 100 relate to people of color, women, and Native Americans. Read more.


E.J. Hill and the Art of Endurance

E.J. Hill's works engage with the supposed boundaries we place on ourselves, focusing on the possibility of transcendence. His performances invite the viewer into an emotional, painful, yet ultimately fulfilling experience that is an open, honest, and highly personal investigation into the cultural and social implications of his body as art. Read more.


Artist Andrea Chung with her son, Kingston| Still from KCET Artbound's "Artist and Mother" Mother AB s9

Artbound episode: Artist and Mother

This episode profiles four California artists who make motherhood a part of their art. There's a persisting assumption in contemporary art circles that you can't be a good artist and good mother both. But these artists are working to shatter this cliché, juggling demands of career and family and finding inspiring ways to explore the maternal in their art. Watch now.


Andrea Fraser's book "2016: In Museums, Money, and Politics"
Andrea Fraser's book "2016: In Museums, Money, and Politics"

Recommended Reading: Andrea Fraser aims to hold US museum boards to account (from The Art Newspaper)

Andrea Fraser's book, "2016: In Museums, Money, and Politics," compiles an exhaustive analysis of the political affiliations of trustees represents only a first, works towards untangling the knots that bind museums, money, and politics. Fraser identifies two key issues that have already come to the fore: “Boards need to be diversified,” she says, and “patronage and governance need to be clearly separated in non-profit institutions”.  Read more.

Lauren McCarthy Social Soul Installation
Lauren McCarthy's Social Soul installation project | Lauren McCarthy

Lauren McCarthy, media artist

Assistant Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts

Lauren McCarthy is an artist whose work explores issues of surveillance, automation, and network culture as they affect our social relationships. She is the creator ofp5.js, an open source platform for learning creative expression through code online. Lauren's work has been exhibited internationally, at places such as Ars Electronica, Conflux Festival, SIGGRAPH, LACMA, Onassis Cultural Center, IDFA DocLab, and the Japan Media Arts Festival. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow and was previously a resident at CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Eyebeam, Autodesk, NYU ITP, and Ars Electronica / QUT TRANSMIT³.


Network Sublime

For a project called "Lineman" (2009), artist Michael Parker tagged along with technical trainees hoping to become line workers for the Los Angeles power system. Parker himself participated in their various exercises, which he documented both with text and with color photographs; these included learning the various ins and outs of wiring diagrams and knot-tying skills, as well as how to ascend and descend utility poles. Read more.


Incendiary Traces: Artists, Surveillance and Patrol at the Border

Incendiary Traces was a conceptually driven, community generated art project conceived by artist Hillary Mushkin. Incendiary Traces was a series of site-specific draw-ins that took place across Southern California, in addition to collecting related historical and contemporary materials. Read more.


24 Hour Host by Lauren McCarthy
24 Hour Host by Lauren McCarthy

Recommended Viewing: The work of Lauren McCarthy

Please visit Lauren McCarthy's website to learn more about the many projects she's created that touch upon the idea of freedom. Visit Lauren McCarthy's website.


Sick Woman Theory by Johanna Hedva
Sick Woman Theory by Johanna Hedva

Recommended Reading: Sick Woman Theory, by Johanna Hedva (published in Mask Magazine)

Johanna Hedva lives with chronic illness and their sick woman theory is for those who were never meant to survive but did. Read more.

Artbound: Art and Protest - El Mac
Artbound: Art and Protest by El Mac

Ananya Roy, social justice scholar

Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Geography and inaugural Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin

Ananya Roy holds the Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy. Previously she was on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Ananya’s research has a determined focus on poverty and inequality, both in Los Angeles and in other cities around the world. Her most recent book is Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World. Ananya is recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching recognition that UC Berkeley bestows on its faculty.

Mural by Miles "El Mac" MacGregor.

Artbound Episode: 'Art and Protest'

Artbound episode "Art and Protest" explores art created amid social upheaval. The program showcases Andrea Bowers and Noe Gaytan, whose work engages with the struggle for wage equity and unionization; the life and assemblage sculptures of African American artist Noah Purifoy, whose practice was radically transformed by the Watts riots; Michael Maltzan's design of Star Apartments, a housing project addressing the issue of homelessness in downtown Los Angeles; and the cross-border muralism of artist El Mac. Read more and watch episode.


L.A. Sheriff | Photo: Courtesy of Alex Schaefer.

Art Threat: Alex Schaefer's Plein Air Protests

Chalk has become the medium of choice of Occupy protesters who have clashed with police during recent Los Angeles artwalks, but artist Alex Shaefer says that his painting protest against a bank in Van Nuys is targeted; a precise indictment of institutional abuse. Read more.


UCLA's Abolitionist Planning for Resistance Guide / 10 Questions
UCLA's Abolitionist Planning for Resistance Guide

Recommended Reading: Abolitionist Planning for Resistance, from the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin

This resource guide outlines the first steps the UCLA Abolitionist Planning Group has taken to understand Trumpism as a moment in United States politics. Building on long-standing exclusions, Trumpism consolidates power through white supremacy, misogyny, nationalism, xenophobia, corporatism, and militarism. Read more. (Note: This is a pdf document.)


Abolitionist Guide from UCLA Luskin
Abolitionist Guide from UCLA Luskin

Recommended Reading:  Response to Abolitionist Planning: There is No Room for Planners in the Movement for Abolition, by Deshonay Dozier (from Progressive City)

Abolition is a movement that seeks to end prisons, police, and border walls. Why? They are institutions of war built on colonial and capitalist legacies of indigenous, Black, brown, Asian and poor violence. They only produce violence and need to be abolished. Read more.

Reverse side of the Cyrus Cylinder | Wikicommons
Reverse side of the Cyrus Cylinder

Seana Shiffrin, moral and political philosophy expert

Professor of Philosophy and Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice

Seana Shiffrin has taught at UCLA since 1992. Her research addresses issues in moral, political and legal philosophy, as well as matters of legal doctrine, that concern equality, autonomy, and the social conditions for their realization. She has written extensively on the morality of promising and the role of law in facilitating and fostering moral character, with a special emphasis on the connection between contracts and promises. Her recent book, Speech Matters, explored the ethics of communication and the connection between the prohibition on lying, freedom of speech, and moral progress. She has studied at UC Berkeley, Oxford University and earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Shiffrin teaches courses on moral and political philosophy as well as contracts, freedom of speech, constitutional rights and individual autonomy, remedies and legal theory.

Laws That Shaped L.A.: Los Angeles and the First Amendment

In Los Angeles, the right of free speech has loomed prominently many times in the city's history- from decades long battles over the Hays Code in the movie industry, to huge protests over wars in Viet Nam and Iraq, to the treatment of immigrant workers. Read more.


Rendering of the Freedom Sculpture | Courtesy of Farhang Foundation

L.A.'s Newest Public Sculpture Celebrates Freedom and Diversity

The Cyrus Cylinder demonstrates the oldest edict by a single ruler to allow for religious freedom, indicating that his subjects are able to worship the God of their choice. It also shows how over 2,500 years ago, the Achaemenid Empire, the largest empire the world had seen, ensured that the state supported and respected religious diversity among its colonies. Read more.


West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette

The United States Supreme Court hearing from 1943 that returned the ruling that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protected students and teachers from being forced to participate in the salute to the American Flag. Read more.


"First Amendment Stories" book cover crop
"First Amendment Stories" book cover crop

Recommended Reading: The Story of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: The Pledge of Allegiance and the Freedom of Thought

The controversy over the pledge of allegiance represented a clash between two relatively small but intense segments of the American public: the Jehovah's Witnesses and a congeries of private patriotic groups including the American Legion, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Read more.

Top Image: Sketch of the Ridge with Laguna Peak Tracking Station, 2016. Marker and pencil on paper | Jena Lee

Support Provided By
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The Legacy of Larry Baza, San Diego Activist and Arts Advocate

A prominent advocate for the arts, BIPOC and LGBTQ causes, Larry Baza served on San Diego's Commission for Arts and Culture and was later appointed to the California Arts Council in 2016.

Animated Series 'City of Ghosts' Explores L.A.'s Rich Histories for Kids

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When Embroidery Stitches a Portrait of Our Times

These L.A. artists have been using the craft of embroidery to send messages of hope, renewal and justice. With designs inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the presidential inauguration, their pieces have become a way to protest and record history.