SVETLANA BOYM

"When I hear 'at stake,' I suddenly imagine inquisition, and since we are in an somewhat inquisitory situation...Perhaps, because I come from a culture of political oppression, yet certain aesthetic freedom or dreams of aesthetic freedom, for me writing and kind of unconventional practices, or what I would call aesthetic practices in everyday life are absolutely essential. So, perhaps what’s at stake in what I do is a certain quest for meaning. It's very difficult for--as an academic for me to use those words without falling into banality. I’ve also worked on banality and kitsch, so the question is how can we still talk about those big questions without becoming kitschy, yet it is imperative to talk about them. I mean, Hannah Arendt begins her work on freedom saying that thinking about freedom is hopeless. It’s like trying to square a circle, yet it is also imperative to think about freedom in this asymptotic, tentative way, both with critical reflexivity, but also with hope, perhaps."