Friday, 19 February 2016

DON'T LET THE MEDIA HAVE THE MONOPOLY ON THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, BY FREEE

22:42 - By ART FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 0


Don’t Let The Media Have The Monopoly On The Freedom Of Speech, poster, 2007; for solo exhibition Protest is Beautiful, 1000,000 mph Gallery, London. Also shown, How to Make a Difference, IPS, Birmingham, 2007, Terms of Use: Art and Informational Economy, Montehermoso, Vitoria, Spain 2008.

Freee art collective, composed of Dave Beech, Andy Hewitt, and Mel Jordan, questions the way in which public opinion is shaped, as well as the role of art in the public sphere. Working together since 2004, the artists have created publicly staged interventions using posters, screens, publications, journal articles, t-shirts, and slogans. The titles of their projects are typically very literal: The Economic Function of Public Art Is to Increase the Value of Private Property (2004) or Advertising Wants to Convert Our Desire for a Better Life into a Desire to Buy Something (2008).
Even though Freee’s visual and language-based interventions criticize the commercial and bureaucratic use of the urban environment, they occupy billboards, gallery spaces, and public sites. The group’s artistic strategy is dialectical: on the one hand, it draws from the avant-garde tradition by adopting the visual language of political dissents (for example, handwritten, handheld signs); on the other hand, it borrows mainstream media strategies, such as the use of big screens, and employ commercial-like aesthetics. Heavily influenced by Marxist theory, Freee aims at imagining a new social order by activating a collective and participatory space.

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