24 Apr Utopia/Dystopia
Humans have an astounding vivid imagination when it comes to picturing a better life within an imaginary society. And yet, the utopian visions set in parallel time-space zones are not the only ones on our minds. The indispensable other part, the darker, gloomy side described in the shadow worlds of dystopian fantasies written by Aldous Huxley and Co. are as present in the collective consciousness as their utopian visionary twins. Despite all disparities they do have one thing in common: both concepts are changing over time. Following the manifesto-exhibition displayed at Lisbon’s MAAT Museum in 2016/ 2017 the book ‘Utopia/ Dystopia – A paradigm shift in Architecture and Art’ is a finest collection of hitherto unpublished essays accompanying the show. The more-than-a-catalogue explores the thin line between the binomial utopia/dystopia division, critically questions the various notions of both concepts and orbits their subtle interrelations. As it can be read in Pedro Gadanho’s essay „Utopia/Dystopia. A brief History of an uncomfortable Duality“ this publication focuses on a significant landmark, a time when both concepts started to shift massively in 1968. At the latest after WWII, the global genocide and after dropping an atomic bomb for the first time, it became obvious that mass-driven hopes and ideas to built a different, new organized society from scratch often and rapidly turn into societal nightmares like fascism, communism, modernism. This paradigm shift is still echoing in the ideas about where the world will/could lead in the not-so-far future. By going beyond a mere static perspective on this dichotomy, turning and stretching the dualism to its limits the authors offer novel and different stances about a future yet to come. And perhaps, this book can do one’s bit to shift the ways we address society in its ideal self-representations by making us question again the role of cultural producers in face of a broader, unescapable political situation, as it is written in the foreword – or „Hope is the last to die“ to sneak in an everlasting utopian overtone.