Shy Radicals by Hamja Ahsan – Reading and Interview

Empowerment series by ArtEZ studium generale

As an artist it is important to make your voice heard. Yet, due to cultural differences and social structures, certain voices are more easily heard than others. How do artists with a less privileged position, or artist who are less represented, get their points across while taking account of diverse perspectives? How do we gain confidence in listening, sharing, expressing and articulating in a multi-cultural environment? And how does an artist speak up in the face of institutional power? When is it their responsibility to voice out? When is it their responsibility to listen? How do artists find their agency to bring about change in actions of solidarity?

In times when artists are still continuously asked to brand themselves or to have an individual position within the field, ArtEZ studium generale offers students different empowerment training courses and events to reexamine this idea by analysing how we relate to each other, through having social awareness and self-reflexivity, active participation and involvement, accountability and encouragement for individual and collective actions.

In this series artist and activist Hamja Ahsan was invited for an interviews and a table read, a semi performative reading of his book ‘Shy Radicals: Antisystemetic Politics of the Militant Introvert’ which made waves across the fields of pedagogy, activism and art. It tells of the laws, customs and values of Aspergistan, a utopian state for introverted people. Aspergistan is governed according to Shyria Law and underpinned by Pan-Shyist ideology that protects the rights of the oppressed, quiet and shy people. Through communiqués, interviews, oral histories and the underground history of introvert struggles (referred to as the Introfada). What emerges, with much humor, is as much the fictional state of Aspergistan, as the hegemonic values, norms, and behaviors of the here and now.



For more on the Empowerment series, visit ArtEZ Studium Generale.