Fearless Speech

Who speaks and when? When does one speak the truth? What are the relationships that exist between truth, power, risk/danger, and frankness? How does the inability to “speak truth” comment on social democratic processes? What is the relationship of speech to truth? What value does speech have to the recovery from trauma (personal, social, political)? How can architects, artists, designers, and writers, operating in an inspiring, analytical, and provoking, manner, respond to this emergent issue?

This project-based seminar will deal with the concept of ‘fearless speech’, investigating and differentiating it from ‘free speech’. During these semester this investigation will include the reliance of participant’s individual practices in the conceptualizing and experimentation on the interpersonal space of truth-telling, the promotion of the ‘natural exclamation’ and the creation of spaces (pulpit/podium/tent/venue/structure) that promote / cultivate fearless speech in both public and private locations. Michel Foucault speaks of the need for these places and devices in order to both sustain the human condition and provide a stable platform for the public dissemination of a minority position.¬†Seminal to this course will be Foucault’s “Fearless Speech”.

Using a variety of sources including extensive visual material, invited speakers, Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, and other readings, discussions will function as necessary critical and theoretical support to the development of original working models and environments. Personal (observed and/or lived through) experience of injustice, neglect abuse and other wrongs and wrong doings, combined with one’s own ethico-political ideas and concerns, supported by new reflections based on readings, presentations and discussions — all help to seek positive answer to such a challenge.