Utopia is no place
Openning April 28th 2015.
“Be realistic, demand the impossible!” as the May ’68 slogan went. But I want to push this idea of impossible thinking even further, to a point where I think it starts to become practical. The problem with Utopia, as the horrific social twentieth-century experiments of Nazism and totalitarian Communism amply demonstrated, is that dreams start to be taken for realities. Once this happens, there is a tendency to brutalize the present in order to bring it into line with an imagined future. We must collectivize farms, even if it kills all the farmers! This is the nightmare of Utopian history from which we are desperately trying to wake. But what if we imagine Utopia as only a dream? That is, make it something patently impossible?
This is what Thomas More does in his Utopia: he sketches a picture of an attractive and compelling world for us to lose ourselves within. We live in it, see it, feel it, experience it. We WANT it. And then at the same time, he takes it away from us by calling it “no-place.” He denies us the cathartic moment when we’d switch our allegiance from reality to a fantasy. Because we realize the dream is just a dream, this fantasy of the future cannot be sold to us as a place in which we can, and thus must reside (even if it kills us). And, more importantly, it forces us into a space where we can imagine for ourselves.
This sort of unrealistic Utopia in its true meaning of no-place, still retains its political function as an ideal: a loadstone to guide us and a frame within which to imagine
The idea of this exhibition arises from the necessity of a utopian thinking to modify progressive politics. Without the utopian thinking we are tied by the tyranny of the possible, and realistic thinking is no longer the appropriate answer to nowadays situation.
During years, the politic and social critics have been developed from a realistic point of view. Reality was shown to the spectator to make him react to the hard evidence of a series of injustices, or duels.
Now, in a time when we live over exposed to images, immersed in a visual culture that doesn’t skimp on details, show reality is no longer efficient.
It is because of that that we need a reversed attitude. From a creative point of view, that doesn´t have to adapt itself to reality, political critic or activism can be even more efficient or transgressive. Today’s political problem is not a lack of analysis, or revealing truth, but the radical necessity of imagination.