The Freedom Issue : Yann Weber’s editor’s letter

Article publié le 25 août 2016

Byline : Yann Weber
Photo : Ren Hang for Antidote Magazine : The Freedom Issue Winter 2016-2017

Pour son numéro hiver 2016-2017, Antidote a choisi d’explorer le thème de la liberté. Dans son édito, Yann Weber, directeur de la rédaction et de la création, raconte The Freedom Issue, son photographe Ren Hang, son contenu et les contributeurs qui ont participé à sa réalisation.

How many have sacrificed their lives on the altar of freedom? More than ever, freedom is a right that we must defend. Some talk about it like it is the ultimate right, above all others. But freedom is a moving target.

Often the people I meet in my professional life assure me that I am free in my creativity and my choices. And it is precisely here, with The Freedom Issue, that I gave myself the challenge to question that argument. And since one of the pillars of freedom is the right to choose, I started by selecting Ren Hang. For me, this Chinese photographer, who is based in Beijing, embodies this notion of freedom, freedom of the body, freedom of expression but also the freedom to work itself. Because his work disturbs, not a month goes by when the People’s Republic doesn’t confiscate his images or shuts down his exhibitions.

While no one is forcing us to be free, there are many who are actively trying to prevent us from attaining it. Censorship is, without a doubt, on of the major ways people attempt to curtail our liberty. And if freedom is an individual right, it is by nature inseparable from freedom that is shared by all. However when we blindly pursue our own desires and what we think are our essential needs, sometimes we can encroach on the freedom of others. Freedom is also a moral question. To respect other, whether they are human or animal.

Matthieu Ricard, the Buddhist monk and doctor of molecular genetics, has graced this issue with his presence. In a pragmatic and spiritual interview, the pacifist attempts to awaken in the reader a deeper awareness of the current conditions of the animal kingdom. If we value freedom so highly, then why do we knowingly violate the rights of those creatures that also inhabit our planet?

This essential question isn’t the only one raised in the magazine. Lauren Bastide questions the free representation of the female body currently constrained by societal dictates and digital platforms. Thanks to the Internet, people have accessed to new ways to connect, exchange, support and build a revolution together. And by getting to know those around us, both near and far, then we are able to understand our own degree of freedom. It’s a concept that is not obvious and very subjective.

Some, like the critic Angelo Flaccavento, feel freest when they have limits in place. For others, the way they express their freedom and their freedom of expression is conveyed through their clothing. It’s these original, diverse and eccentric individuals that Sophie Fontanel addresses in her article “Lettre aux lookés”. The Freedom Issue celebrates creativity, initiative, innovation, style, and humanity. And if the greatest luxury was freedom?

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