UTOPIA & VIOLENCE intro

UTOPIA & VIOLENCE

EXPERIMENTATION AND RESEARCH IN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTIC PRACTICES

6th Painting Studio ASFA (Athens School of Fine Arts)

Timetable: Friday of 29 June - Friday of 13 July 2007 Number of Students: 15

Organizer-Facilitator: V. Vlastaras. Supervising professor: Director of 6th Painting Studio Pr. Tr. Patraskidis

Utopia is a concept that always fascinates artists as a free expression of their unlimited imagination and desire. Art, via the utopia is released by the restrictions of reality and finds its way to the expression of its visions. On the occasion of this relation, the workshop is dealing with the prolific and multi discussed significance of utopia. The term utopia in the daily vocabulary is connected with the ideal, future, the unfeasible and creates margins for many and often contradictory interpretations. Utopias are the places of dreams and hope for a better life, that give exit from the incomplete reality. In certain cases they oppose in scientific or biological laws, involving the metaphysics, sometimes they are ephemeral shelters that do not set particular sociopolitical reflections, but usually their creation is based on the intention to criticize the rendered institutions and the structure of existing society. A concept that is connected with the ideal and wish and paradoxically is often susceptible of previously negative characterizations because of its distance from reality and other times praised interpretation because of its idealistic dimension and its renewing effect in the human history.

COMMENTS ON UTOPIA

In 1515 More wrote his most famous and controversial work, Utopia, a novel in which a fictional traveler, Raphael Hythloday (whose first name is an allusion to the archangel Raphael, who was the purveyor of truth, and whose surname means "dispenser of nonsense" in Greek), describes the political arrangements of the imaginary island nation of Utopia (a play on the Greek ou-topos, meaning "no place", and eu-topos, meaning "good place"). In the book, More contrasts the contentious social life of European states with the perfectly orderly and reasonable social arrangements of the Utopia, where private property does not exist and almost complete religious toleration is practiced.

Many commentators have pointed out that Karl Marx's later vision of the ideal communist state strongly resembles More's Utopia in regards to individual property, although Utopia is without the atheism that Marx always insisted upon. Furthermore, it is notable that the Utopia is tolerant of different religious practices but does not advocate tolerance for atheists. More theorizes that if a man did not believe in God or an afterlife of any kind he could never be trusted as he would not be logically driven to acknowledge any authority or principles outside himself.

More might have chosen the literary device of describing an imaginary nation primarily as a vehicle for discussing controversial political matters freely. His own attitude towards the arrangements he describes in the book is the subject of much debate. While it seems unlikely that More, a devout Catholic, intended pagan, proto-communist Utopia as a concrete model for political reform, some have speculated that More based his Utopia on monastic communalism based on the Biblical communalism described in the Acts of the Apostles. Due to the nature of More's writing, however, it is at times difficult to tell his satirical jabs at society from how he actually believes things should be.

Utopia is often seen as the forerunner of the Utopian genre of literature, in which different ideas of the "ideal society" or perfect cities are described in varying amounts of detail by the author. Although a typically Renaissance movement, based on the rebirth of classical concepts of perfect societies as propagated by Plato and Aristotle, combined with Roman rhetorical finesse (see Cicero, Quintilian, epeidietic oratory (that of praise or blame)) Utopianism continued well into the enlightenment age.

The original edition included details of a symmetrical alphabet of More's own invention, called the "Utopian alphabet". This alphabet was omitted from later editions, though it remains notable as an early attempt at cryptography that may have influenced the development of shorthand.

MORE from Wikipedia...

ASFA Rethymno workshop site

ASFA Rethymno workshop site

snapshots from utopia workshop 2007

snapshots from utopia workshop 2007
talking about utopia...

talking about utopia...

utopia project 2007

SOME WORKS OF PARTICIPANTS

Alaena Turner

Alaena Turner

Andreas Mitropoulos

Andreas Mitropoulos

Brian Chan

Brian Chan

David Yu

David Yu

Helen Dowling

Helen Dowling

Indiana Audunsdottir

Indiana Audunsdottir

KIERAN DRURY

KIERAN DRURY

Karem Ibrahim

Karem Ibrahim

Kostas Pardalis

Kostas Pardalis

Lila Maragoudaki

Lila Maragoudaki

Maria Chrysochoidou

Maria Chrysochoidou

UTOPIA PROJECT

BELOW UTOPIA BLOG with COMMENTS

Monday, June 25, 2007

Leni Riefenstahl: Triumph of the Will



Intellectualism cut off at the neck: The Body Politic-As-Aesthetic in Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will

by Christian Crouse





2 comments:

Beksinski said...

The idea of utopia has to be clearly delimited when it comes to dealing with such a broad spectrum of instances of occurrence of such an all-encompassing yet irregular term. This is especially true in the case of the Nazism, where reanimated antediluvian propheticism meets the inevitability of industrial efficacy.

The film clearly shows the true anti-historical and anti-modernist dimension of Nazi idealism. The ideals permeating the mythology of the German nationhood are conceived as rigid and timeless, any progressive historical narrative has been dispensed in favor of an utter negation of a dialectic conception of dynamic historical processes.

The ideal of the superiority of the Aryan race is an eternal truth, there is nothing to be achieved further regarding this but a full manifestation of this fait accompli in the reality of the third Reich. This transcendental conception of utopia signals the end of time, the Reich is now and will be forever. A similar negation comes into play in the conception of the spatial limits of this dystopia, all external space has already been annexed and a vicious compartmentalization ensues seeking to fold all inner space unto itself, a loss of individuality through devastating compression and a deflation of humanity into a volume-less mass, ready to be tagged, commodified, shipped or liquefied according to need.

This defacing of humanity is nothing but the grand fantasy of corporatism, where the term itself necessitates the subjugation of all parts into the greater "corpus". According to Mussolini corporatism and fascism were interchangeable terms.

In this light the fascist/Nazi utopia can only be conceived as part of the greater latent dream of capitalism, the subliminal conquest of all that can be described as parts of the human experience (corporeal or intellectual) through their commodification and utilization. Extension, division, fusion or elimination of such parts is dictated in absolute terms, there is only one utter goal: efficiency of the body. Man doesn't march as man anymore and his body is shown as a voyeuristic peek into the inner working of the body corporate; admire the cog for its mechanical perfection ensures the infallibility of the machine.

Beksinski said...

Here's a very important piece of critique by Susan Sontag dispelling many myths about Leni Riefenstahl and assessing the continuity of her work:

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/33dTexts/SontagFascinFascism75.htm

eating and meeting

eating and meeting

perception of space...

perception of space...