John Stuart Mill Exterminates his Father

Paper originally given 2006 at Tate Britain for the conference 'On Liberty and Art: How do artists engage with liberty as aesthetic practice, historical concept and public discourse? Subsequently published with the journal MATERIAL.

The conference was held in the bicentennial year of the publication of J.S. Mills' On Liberty (1859), and re-examined how artists are promoted by the state and media as exemplars of personal liberty, creative individualism and the pursuit of happiness. In contrast, an address to liberty through art can reveal how liberty as a supposedly self-evident and universal value is grounded in historical contingency, social pragmatism and cultural prohibitions. Speakers included Amanda Beech, Dave Beech, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Bob & Roberta Smith, John Russell and Roman Vasseur. Organised by 'Agendas' at Wimbledon College of Art.


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