Utopian thinking is one of the most influential methods of modern intellectual and cultural history. Based on the understanding of the English humanist Thomas More and his fictitious design of an ideal society on a desert island, it attempts to create a template for an improved version of this world. There is hardly an area that does not make use of this tool, from politics to medicine to the technology companies of Silicon Valley that claim to want to improve the world. And last but not least, architecture.
The connection between many utopian concepts of society and ideas about structural design is evident and extends to the urban planning visions of the present day. And if a city like Athens, with all its implications for the history of democracy, is seen for this exhibition as an allegory that makes possible a global community with new social agreements that are less dependent on materiality than on virtual interactions, this connection can also be seen as a mandate for an artistic utopia.
However, this is then less a concrete plan for implementation, but more a catalyst of a process that changes reaction speeds or enters into connections during a reaction - but only to reappear afterwards unchanged. The positions of Valentina Amman, Mirijam Bajtala, Ewa Kaja, Christiane Spatt, Karin Maria Pfeifer and Sula Zimmerberger are to be interpreted in this way, as a possible indication of the influence of the built forms of human coexistence on the community, no more, but also no less.
For this is what distinguishes artistic utopias from those of other disciplines, which specifically call for the creation of new and unprecedented ideals as utopias or dystopias, perhaps also eutopias, atopias or heterotopias, in order to be able to orientate themselves towards them in the shaping of human conditions. In the end, art remains as vague as it is misleading and should not be misused as an orientation aid. It is indispensable as a driver for (utopian) change, but as a manual for a better world it would be misleading.
Curated by: Karin Maria Pfeifer, Flat 1 Vienna
Participating artists: Valentina Amman, Mirijam Bajtala, Ewa Kaja, Christiane Spatt, Karin Maria Pfeifer, Sula Zimmerberger.
The exhibition «YOUtopia» is curated by Karin Maria Pfeifer, Flat 1 Vienna, as a part of the Back to Athens International Art Meeting 2022.
Back to Athens 9 | International Art Meeting 2022 is organised by APART Art Research and Applications under the auspices of the City of Athens, with the support of the Austrian Embassy Athens and the Ministry of Culture of Austria, Zoia, produced and coordinated by CHEAPART, with the participation of the Cultural program Athens Intersection, theculturechannel.com and communication sponsor, dreamideamachine.
Back to Athens 9 | International Art Meeting 2022
No apocalypse now: A review
65 Patision and Ioulianou str., 104 33, Athens Greece
«YOUtopia», 3rd floor
Opening: Wednesday, June 29, 16:00 - 22:00
Duration: June 29 - July 3, 2022
Hours: Wednesday - Friday 16:00 - 22:00, Saturday - Sunday 12:00 - 22:00