Returning from Utopia / New Reality
“Utopia”, according to dictionaries, is the “ideal place” characterized by the perfection of its laws, its government and its social conditions. I am impressed yet not convinced by this platonic thought on idealized forms and its systems. The world is simply much more complicated, and our understanding way too limited in order to be able to capture wholly what could be a condition of “perfection”. Going even further, I could dare state that 'perfection', as it is ideally described by Plato, is nothing more than the product of an abstract concept fit for a personal ideational think tank. Instead, I shall rather focus my attention on achieving specific goals contently, keeping in mind that our vision of the "ideal" is changing perpetually and it does so beyond our control. Thus, the focused experience is much better than the abstract notion. This is where, beliefs such as having respect for the life and the property of the Other make up a better life model than a society of predators, springs from. I know therefore, that the violent methods followed by state power are destructive to life as opposed to a pacifist attitude and approach to life. Above all, a system of social management based on policies which resort to the use of violence produces consequences for humanity which are far worse than those produced in situations where coercion is avoided.
In a world which is ruled by incentives of materialistic pursuits and tendencies of authoritarian enforcement, there is often confusion between the expression of philosophical principles and the pursuit of visions of various social systems. Why do so many of us define themselves in their sense of “being” by resorting to preexisting existing established categories such as “utopia” or “romanticism”? Is this perhaps a convenient way to avoid or even obliterate decision making while preventing burdening our thoughts with annoying questions?
Dionisis Christofilogiannis, fake paradise, oil on ostrich egg, 2011
On 9/11 two planes crashed in New York City into the World Trade Center as obvious retaliation for the years of military involvement the U.S. government ordered in foreign countries. In the Middle East, political targets and innocent bystanders are equally destroyed by suicide bombers. Are such violent and destructive practices the essence of realism? Is this undeniable? Our various foundations have prepared us (or are intensively working towards it) to embrace the view that responsibility is synonymous with obedience to their commands, and thus rupturing the relationship of our “being” from its root, the “why”. The ones who criticize the alleged irresponsible tendencies of the “visionaries” are themselves, more often than not, proponents of the most widespread and charged of utopian designs system, that being the constitutional representative democracy. Most of us are afraid of addressing the inherent dishonesty of the idea of "dystopia" favoring a new illusion in its place. Richard Weaver’s classic observation, that “ideas have consequences” has equal application in the admissions around which we choose to organize the systems of our “Utopian” thought. We can, for instance, choose amongst those models on offer which we believe will best serve our interests. However, avoiding the consequences of the decisions we make is not a feasible choice. Moreover, the interaction of all these presumably complex systems renders the events unexpected, without however negating the undeniable mark of an intelligent mind: the ability to distinguish what is self-evident and what is not amongst our thoughts. Diamond is the hardest known substance while graphite is the softest: however, both are made only from pure carbon. The molecular structure of diamonds consists of complex networks, whose power derives from the interconnection of its components. The molecules in graphite on the other hand, are organized in parallel layers, thereby resulting in a much more tenuous structure.
Diamonds can be a very useful metaphor for the design of social interaction systems which are based on the complex connectivity of its members. Consequently "Utopia" is just a word used to define what can generally be described as the perfect dream of the highest level of human existence. Each person, at least once in their lifetime, has pondered on how lovely it would be if there were no diseases, no poverty, no crime etc. Given that everyone has dreamt of a better world, it is fair to say that humanity has a common vision. However, instead of acknowledging our common traits we have created artificial dissimilarities among us through concepts such as nationality and religion. Although there are no two humans exactly alike we are all of one race, the human race, and we all share the experience of living in an essentially identical with the carbon-based life form structure. Therefore, each of us participates in a common desire: a better life for one self. So if "Utopia" marks the best version of life, we must jointly attempt to achieve a kind of collective "Utopia" in order to render its individual manifestations feasible.
Giorgos Tserionos, Athens, 2012
With the above contemplations as a starting point, the artists participating in the group show “RETURNING FROM UTOPIA – NEW REALITY” interpret UTOPIA’s relationship with REALITY and vice versa, using videos, installations, photographs, sculptures and paintings.