“What is Democracy?” with Filmmaker Astra Taylor

“What is Democracy?” with Filmmaker Astra Taylor

Studio Beta @ EMPAC and The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave., Troy, NY

April 24, 2019 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too often take for granted. Director Astra Taylor’s idiosyncratic, philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: 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.
                 
Featuring a diverse cast—including celebrated theorists, trauma surgeons, activists, factory workers, asylum seekers, and former prime ministers—this urgent film 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.
"In almost every conversation, an insistent civic mindedness and recognition of some larger, inclusive group of diverse people — what might be called the social body — eventually comes to the fore. If these aren’t the seeds of democratic culture, then I don’t know what is."
"This is a documentary essay in the guise of an investigation. The movie is radically democratic."
-WWW.NEWYORKER.COM
Astra Taylor is a well-known filmmaker, writer, and organizer. She directed philosophical documentaries including What Is Democracy?, Examined Life, and Zizek!; authored The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age (American Book Award), and is co-founder of the Debt Collective. She has written for The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Walrus, The Baffler, n+1, and others. Previously she was a touring band member of Neutral Milk Hotel and is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, her newest book (available 2019).
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