MoMA R&D

Salon 29 Dependency

Dependency, whether psychological, political, chemical, territorial, or biological, is at its core an issue of power, control, and communication. In the human sphere, dependency is rarely a serene and balanced circumstance. Rather, it often simmers in tension and can explode in outright tragedy. Prompted by many dependency-based current emergencies––from the opioid crisis to the environmental havoc and the migration upheaval––we felt it was important to discuss addictions and hierarchies between humans; between humans and substances, environments, and behaviors; as well as between communities and nations. In a society formed around often uneven power structures, we examined if and how individuals, and even groups or nations, can remain independent, secure, and stable.

Some of the questions we strived to answer: How can we define and describe dependency? Is it always negative? What is the difference between dependency and addiction? What is the difference in a dependent relationship between nations, between humans, or between a human and a chemical, or a human and a behavior? Can dependent relationships ever be symbiotic or even leave room for further freedoms? How is foreign aid a threat to democracy? How can we combat economic dependency? Are there possible solutions? Can dependency lead to stronger relationships and social bonds, whether in the form of a child relying on a parent, an elderly individual relying on a caretaker, or groups of individuals bonding over a shared addiction? What role does care play within dependent structures? How does dependency relate to access and systems of exclusion? Can subordinate individuals reclaim power? Through education and action, is it possible to restructure existing hierarchies? Can an individual or even a society truly rehabilitate itself? Whose responsibility is it to make the personal political?

This salon took place on November, 27th, 2018.

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