THE YOUNG FAMILY, by Patricia Piccinini
Can the art world really do Hollywood better than Hollywood?


The City in the Age of Touristic Reproduction
Boris Groys
The tourist and the city dweller become identical.

Can the art world really do Hollywood better than Hollywood?
Steven Rand
The hypnotism
of technology: where is the end?

Mobile Utopia
Charles Esche
A utopian day-trip through two views of humanity 400 years apart.

Light Type Writer
Constantin Luser


Utopia with Lara Croft and some other monsters and Aliens
Marina Gržinić
The re-direction of desires, facts & bodies in the global world.

Žarko Paić
How to envision utopia, and not run away from society’s real repression / depression into a ghetto or exile for fantastic outsiders?

Zoran Roško
The rejection of human will, civilisation, & the search for what we have left.



A self-assured artist in the age of conceptual-performative “subversion” of boundaries of social perversions of power - globalization, symbolic and genuine violence of capital on living work as the subjugated substance-subject of history, the bio-power of technology, terrorism and war as the “transformational logic” of the new cartography of the world - no longer has a WALL of monolith ideology in front of them. After the fall of real-socialism, the spirit of avantgarde art no longer lives in the catacombs, basements, on the street. There is no alternative “within” the zones of the system of homogenous culture. “Subversiveness” and “radicalness” no longer strike at only the body in its sexual liberation. Repulsiveness, mutilation, cannibalism, the transformation of the human (body) into another nature of the cyborg and/or clone cannot offer to art-society more than neo-dadaist “shock” in conditions when greater shock is created by the terrorist and/or war machine of political power - just as the unfinished war in Iraq - than the futile victim of the media already forgotten “hero” Zdenek Adamec from Prague’s main square who, following the footsteps of Jan Palach’s suicide from 1968, set himself on fire at the beginning of March 2003 in protest against a world without a utopia.

Can one even “be” or “think” in a utopian fashion from a shortage of utopian perspectives of all our transitional, postindustrial, postmodern societies of general apathy and not end up in the non-critical blind alley of one ideology for the creation of “real” hope for the success of one’s own utopia? How much longer can art as the new figure of subversion of social and cultural boundaries be outside the clear form of ideological discourse? Who are the relevant contemporary utopian thinkers at all? Why does every form of opposition to the ruling neoliberal system of imperial globalization have no real utopian perspective? How can one put up opposition to the international order of “cosmopolitan internationalism of capital” with more than just the abstract non-power of resurrection of icons of student rebellions from ’68 (NGO, civil society, the zones of cosmopolitan culture of non-violence and peace)?

Even to Thomas More utopia did not mean only a projection of some imagined “island” of dreams and phantasms of a new Eden. But every utopia attempted to place itself onto some “very new island” on that other side of real conditions of the apprehensive life inside warehouses, offices of the boring megalopolis of the West. Every utopia for that matter inevitably wanted to be “somewhere else” as Baudelaire says in Le Spleen de Paris - “(a)nywhere! so long as it is out of this world!”

The new call of utopia no longer has a reason for escaping to a deserted island. There is no reason for the late discovery of any kind of eastern exotica. In the global world of the one and the same ideology - the neoliberal fundamentalism of capital - which now assumes the outlines of eternal, universal and “natural” civilization, the last escape has already taken place. This is escapism of the spirit of the unbearably empty hybridity of culture of so-called individual salvation found in the New Age ideology of the “Age of Aquarius”. Utopia today? Is it not the real ground of live criticism, the irreducibility of anything prior to u-topian issued in the name of the future as a history of salvation (communism, anarchism, libertinism and last but not least - utopian socialism), which in the 20th century inevitably turned into its own opposition?

How can you think utopia, and not escape from the society of real repression/depression into a ghetto or exile for fantasy outsiders?

Reviving the thought of the necessity of new social utopias is today, before all, possible to explain with the impossibility of creating real alternatives to the only worldly-historical Empire of the reality of global capitalism. Where there is no chance for a “real utopia”, to make use of Ernst Bloch’s phrase, there grows a demand for a comprehensive utopian discourse. Equating terms such as “revolution” and "utopia” already shows the direction of social transformation of the world of global capital as a substance-subject of post-history in which we live. The revival of the theory on imperialism of capitalistic dominance (Hardt and Negri, 2001, Wood, 2003) has its second side in the revival of utopian thought. There is no doubt that what is at the center is an attempt of continuation of the radical-left critical position of the subversion of social conditions of global capitalism from the end of the 60s of the 20th century. However, in contemporary art, there is something much more “radical” that is taking place from the sheer desire for the return of the “revolutionary-utopian” nature of anti-capitalist, new social movements.

The most relevant “revolution” which gives utopian thought wings has taken place, but it also essentially reduces it to pleasure in the impossibility of reaching any kind of real social power. Namely, nature as the essential ground for utopian consciousness no longer exists. Everything has become a culturalization of the natural “object”. Not only do bio-technology or genetic technology substitute the virginal innocence of nature as a lost place of ideal utopias - like the example of the Bali islands promoted as “islands of paradise” for the holidaying of working-depressed citizens of the West which in global tourism sees only one rescue - but rather manufacture a new reality or other natural utopian landscape (Stock, 2002). For this reason, utopia is not nor can it be an escape from reality. The empty place of reality as an imaginary notion of desire for reality (Baudrillard - Lacan) was produced from the essence of contemporary survival of the global Empire. This is a scientific-technological project of the ties between politics, economics and culture of “networked societies” (Castells, 2001). Utopia is a spatial-temporal illusion of reality or the reality of illusion that the world still has the possibility of a final transformation in the completed nature of the world as the contiguity of pre-reflective experience.

For this reason it is entirely understandable why contemporary art is situated in the fruitful illusion of reality of utopia being but one more “sanctuary” before the Empire of capitalist globalization. Social figures of former subversive revolutionary-critical thought can no longer enrapture anyone. Cuba cannot be a figure of anti-imperial battle as long as it - in the name of protest against the ideology of human rights of the Empire, which is always implicitly understood to be the US - successfully continues the order of real existing socialism with a dictator, secret police and prison camps. The connection of social utopias and nature is no longer just a task of philosophical reflection. The connection was realized long ago as a tandem between global capitalism, biotechnology and tourism as the last sanctuary of the West, its real-illusory “platforms” of the eternal present (Houellebecq, 2003). When a real “utopia” is uncovered in the eschatological “nature” of the history of Christian in cosmopolitanism as an alternative to the perniciousness of the politics of nation-states today, then it is a continuation of Marxist politics of the dialectical development of history. Citizenship for all as the only way of nondiscriminatory politics against people “without papers” in Europe, possibly may seem to some to be of utopian origin because this is an unreal option in the current circumstances of creating a Europe as a confederate “Nation-State Home”. This certainly is not utopian thought. Because the im-possible is not at heart, rather real possibility as an illusion of reality which determines reality itself.

In contrast to the proclaimed areas of “history”/“metaphysics”/“utopias”, we are witnesses to the return of some type of post-history, post-metaphysics and post-utopias in the contemporary world of life. That is why contemporary art today is simply a re-politicized act of u-topian reality. What remains are no longer any kind of imaginary spaces or ideas of an ideal “paradise”, but rather the deconstruction of humankind as an altogether already existing natural being. There is no longer any nostalgia for the first nature, nor is it possible to think apocalyptically of the last social utopia of nature as a technological “crystal palace of eternity”. The utopian enchantment of the world with the global capitalism of the Empire presumes the everyday work on practical abstractions of reflective consciousness, the resolving of concrete problems of renegades and the “unhappy consciousness” of post-history. These are all those which the West, Europe, the US and shining zones of live work and capital of the Empire will bring into question soon. The subject-substance of the global world is neither a “multitude” nor a “second nature” (cosmopolitan proletarian and bio-technological manipulator), but life itself which in its universality, suffering, unhappiness and pleasure reproduces as a utopian non-place of global death.

The Empire of death as the only real zone of survival today in the post-historical world represents a necessity for different thought. The return of utopia is only a symptom of the live uneasiness in the search for a not-yet-sanctuary. Utopia is live when it surpasses the world as a decentralized empire of regional-local sanctuary. This is a post-utopian time for victims in the name of primary sameness. We are all the same. Only our genetic codes are different. This places us in a unique position. However much we pride ourselves that we can stand up against the Empire with some real utopia of non-repressive life-for-all, we are all the more condemned to the illusion that technology as a second nature submits to the possibility of radical change of our primeval nature. The empirical order of the global death of nature demands from itself a self-production of utopian strategies of changes of the world of life. For it all ecological, peace, gender-race-sex direct actions of dispute are evidence that the system functions perfectly only if it succeeds in producing its “internal” and “external” enemies. When everything is brought to a state of emergency in which both the bio-power of genetic technology and zapatist guerillas can simultaneously be utopian-ideological elements of one and the same order, the story of crossing over boundaries of the surviving world is then completed. The empirical order of desire is the last boundary of the infiniteness of dreams of another/different world. The utopian non-power of contemporary society is an oniric category. For this reason contemporary art is located in that same position facing social utopias just like that philosopher-butterfly from ancient Taoist stories about the impossibility of separating dreams and reality: “Who am I? Zhuang-Zi who dreams that he is a butterfly, or a butterfly who dreams that he is Zhuang-Zi?”

Directions for further reading:
Castells, M., Uspon umreženog društva, Golden marketing, Zagreb, 2001.
Hardt, M./Negri, A., Empire, Harvard University Press, 2001.
Houellebecq, M., Platforma, Litteris, Zagreb, 2003.
Stock, G., Redesigning Humans, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston-New York, 2002.
Wood, E.M., Empire of Capital, Verso, London, 2003.


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