Lecture by sociologist and writer Ruben Jacobs at ArtEZ studium generale program ‘U staat hier’ (You are here) on 10 November 2016 in Zwolle.
According to the French sociologist Emile Durkheim, Man is a homo duplex: a creature that exists on two levels: as an individual and as part of a wider community. Every human being strives towards individuality, autonomy and a distinct identity and at the same time also towards communality.
However, in a time when the focus is on authenticity and self-expression, the city has largely turned into a platform for people who want to make their mark. Shop windows seduce us into self-aestheticisation; coffee houses guarantee us permanent access to LinkedIn and Facebook with their Wi-Fi connections.
But where in the city can we still encounter other people? Where do we find and celebrate communality? Where can the homo duplex turn to in the city, now and in the future? And what role does art play in this?