Die Gedanken sind frei, 2012

Basel 2017
Lisson Gallery
customized Wurlitzer walnut jukebox, vinyl lettering
81.5 x 152.0 x 64.0 (cm)
32.1 x 59.8 x 25.2 (inch)
With her installation Die Gedanken sind frei (Thoughts Are Free), first presented at Documenta 13, Susan Hiller conceived a sculptural display of a hundred political songs which she had personally collected. These songs, re-mastered on gold archival conservation CDs, are brought together in a customized Wurlitzer ‘One More Time’ walnut jukebox. The songs originate from different cultures, political movements and eras, from the German Peasant Revolt of 1524–25 to the Arab Spring in 2011. Visitors can select songs according to their own curiosity, opinions, or memories, or they can listen to the choices of others. The lyrics of each song can be found on the walls surrounding the jukebox. A fully illustrated Song Book – compiling lyrics, texts, and images selected by the artist – accompanies the installation. Susan Hiller’s interest resides in observing how these songs can raise collective and political awareness, and more particularly, in seeing how visitors react to – and interact with – the work and the power of voices. Four years after the creation of Die Gedanken sind frei, these songs are more relevant than ever as they take on increasing resonance in light of recent political events.