Cancel culture: justified criticism of the established order or the creation of a new taboo?

Debate on Cancel Culture
Friday November 20 2020, Chassé Theatre (Breda, the Netherlands)

Studio Zeitgeist and Chassé Theatre, in collaboration with BredaPhoto, organised a discussion evening around the bigger question “Cancel culture: justified criticism of the established order or the creation of a new taboo?”. From a broader perspective and in response to the commotion that has arisen around the removed work of Erik Kessels, this new phenomenon of cancel-culture is will be investigated from different social and cultural perspectives.

We increasingly hear about the public boycott of artists, cultural institutions and / or politicians who have acted or expressed themselves in “socially undesirable” ways or have created “harmful” works. This often relates to expressions or work that maintain unequal power structures and that lead to marginalization of minority groups. Publicly calling to account and holding artists and institutions responsible for harmful behaviour, is a strategy for minority groups to make these structures visible and open to discussion. On the other hand, it is argued that the cancel culture is poisonous and polarizes and excludes dissenting opinions from the debate. In addition, the fear of cancel culture would lead to self-censorship among journalists, art institutions, artists, writers and other opinion formers, thereby jeopardizing freedom of expression.

Moderator Farid Tabarki has this evening social scientist specialized in gender and sexuality Linda Duits, art critic of the Groene Amsterdammer and editor-in-chief of Ons Amsterdam Koen Kleijn, artist, writer and activist Alina Lupu, artist Erik Kessels, BredaPhoto director Fleur van Muiswinkel and Nanja van Rijsse. Founder ‘Women Skate the World’. From Belgium Tundé Adefioye, City Dramaturge of KVS Brussels joins the debate. Music is performed by Bart Rijnink.