Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, the documentary What is Democracy? reflects on the Greek word, democracy, which we too often take for granted. What does it mean for the people to rule – and is that something that we even want?
Author of the acclaimed documentary Zizek!, the activist, writer and director Astra Taylor analyses various millennia and continents in the idiosyncratic, philosophical journey of this new film: taking us from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor. Celebrated theorists such as Silvia Federici, Cornel West, Wendy Brown, and Angela Davis are joined by trauma surgeons, politicians, activists, factory workers, and refugees in this film, where everyone is faced with questions about democracy, freedom and wealth distribution. Taylor connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means.
The session will be presented by the director and after the film there will be a Q & A with Astra Taylor and Gareth Evans.