International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation
7-8pm, Wednesday 29 March
Guest Artists: Goshka Macuga, Mira Calix, Deborah Coughlin, Mark Simpkins
New Material welcomes the International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation (IIIC), an initiative led by artists Goshka Macuga and Mira Calix (presented at Frieze London 2016 with Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle). The aim of the evening is to create a forum for active reconsideration of the existing order of society and engage in critical, productive discussion about what we as artists can do to effect change in these times.
The International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation was initially founded in 1926, with Albert Einstein as one of many prominent members, to act as an advisory body for the League of Nations, which aimed to promote intellectual exchange between international scientists, researchers, teachers, artists and other cultural figures. A fragmented Europe caught between two wars provided purpose for the idea of the Institute, which later disintegrated, as Europe seemed to find peace in its union.
In the face of Brexit, post-truth Trumpist politics, new forms of fragmentation and migration, what better time to come together to discuss?
“I am convinced that almost all great men who, because of their accomplishments, are recognised as leaders even of small groups that share the same ideals. But they have little influence on the course of political events. It would almost appear that the very domain of human activity most crucial to the fate of nations is inescapably in the hands of wholly irresponsible political rulers.
Political leaders or governments owe their power either to the use of force or to their election by the masses. They cannot be regarded as representative of the superior moral or intellectual elements in a nation. In our time, the intellectual elite does not exercise any direct influence on the history of the world; the very fact of its division into many factions makes it impossible for its members to co-operate in the solution of today's problems. Do you not share the feeling that a change could be brought about by a free association of men whose previous work and achievements offer a guarantee of their ability and integrity? (…) It seems to me nothing less than an imperative duty!”
— Albert Einstein
Extracted from the publication, ‘Why War?’ - a correspondence between Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein In a letter written in 1931, Albert Einstein invites Sigmund Freud to a frank exchange of views on the destructive nature of humankind.