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YBCA Artists Work to Personalize the Definition of Freedom

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This video is a co-production between KQED and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA).

As part of a fellowship program at YBCA, Bay Area architects Kelly Gregory and Brett Snyder and new media artist Liat Berdugo are on a creative quest to find answers to the question: “Can we design freedom?”

Defining the word “freedom” isn’t easy. The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers a dizzying array of possibilities, from “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action,” to “improper familiarity”.

But Gregory, Snyder and Berdugo want to engage people in creating and understanding their own definitions of freedom in a playful, personal way, because, as  Snyder puts it, “there isn’t a one size fits all” approach to the concept.


To that end, the team is developing a resource they’re calling a “Freedom Instruments Toolkit.” The Toolkit, which was in the early stages of development at the time KQED produced this video, asks people to explore such questions as:

What does freedom mean to you?

When do you feel most free in your life?

When do you feel restricted?

What does freedom feel like to you?

If you can give somebody freedom, what would that look like?

The team will present their product at YBCA on Saturday, Feb. 18. For more information about the event, click here.


Launched in April 2016, the “Freedom” cohort of YBCA Fellows is responding to the question: Can we design freedom? This diverse group of citizens includes artists, economists, activists, software developers, architects, professors, designers, and scientists.

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