Who produces knowledge? And for whom?

The fifth section of the Driving the Human Opening Festival critically engaged with the production and distribution of knowledge.

The Driving the Human Opening Festival graphics, by Studio Yukiko.

The creation, dissemination, and consumption of information has reached unprecedented levels. With political and economic powers exerting huge influence on the scope and content of the circulating information, the gap between the content and the actual facts and fundamental knowledge is growing. It used to be said that knowledge is power, but today information is power. How can we turn this around and distribute messages with factual content and generate valuable knowledge?

Moderator Barbara Kiolbassa introduced the fifth section of the Driving the Human Opening Festival, dedicated to the theme of Knowledge, alongside her co-moderator Julien McHardy, who informed the audience that 15% of the entire historical human experience belongs to the people alive in 2020, breathing and producing knowledge. The section began with a statement by philosopher Isabelle Stengers, recorded in French with English subtitles, in which she discussed the urgencies of our time and her own vision on what drives “us” humans. Stengers stated that the primary force that drives or motivates us is our ability to think. She also mentioned in her statement other thinkers like Gilles Deleuze and Donna Haraway, who’ve reflected on certain feelings that inhabit us like shame, opposition, or guilt. The Belgian philosopher demonstrated what the current global pandemic taught us: that we are not well equipped to face what was anticipated and announced.


The statement was followed by the panel discussion introduced and moderated by design sociologist Michael Kaethler, with panelists Indy Johar, architect and co-founder of oo (projectoo.cc), and Sarat Maharaj, Professor of Visual Art and Knowledge Systems at Lund University and Malmö Art Academy. They explored, during their discussion, the theme of Knowledge and how to retool the language frames around knowing, thinking and consciousness. They answered questions like what does it mean to “know”? What material or social forms need to be reconsidered for altering our knowledge landscape? Is there a knowledge crisis? The audience was invited to actively participate and join the discussion by asking questions to the panelists on the Driving the Human Telegram Group.  The section ended with a screening of Karrabing Film Collective’s 2018 film The Mermaids, or Aiden in Wonderland.


“Only in a redescription of describing what it means to be human, do we redefine our relationship and our obstruction or comprehension of the world” –Indy Johar

If you were inspired by these ideas and would like to be part of the Driving the Human project, we encourage you to apply to our Open Call and send us your proposals for shaping sustainable and collective futures until April 9, 2021.