(unedited text: written for hte Albanian Biennial 2003 - I m always happy to get help from editors who can fix my text)

no copyright as long as you give me credit and let me know it.


BREAKING NEWS: The Real World – Live from Utopia!

According my computer-built-in dictionary Utopia is “an ideal and perfect place or state, where everyone lives in harmony and everything is for the best.”

After all the disastrous social experiments of the 20th century and the early results of reinvigorated promises from Islamic, Christian and Jewish fundamentalisms, we should look at any utopia as a bad U-turn.

You-topia as well as I-topia are also places not to be mistaken for a promised land.

US-topia is probably worth a walk thought we should be careful of who interprets, represents and speaks for this collective ‘us’ subject. It could easily also read U.S.-topia, and stand for the entertaining, up-beat utopian free market crusaders who even believe in U.S. bombs to impose ideal and perfect democracies and surreal peace engineering around the world. Note, that qualifying for the sometimes necessary blessings of U.S. interventions a country must at least have some valuable resources or some vital strategic or economic importance. Right now, poor African countries in civil war don’t get the pacifying help from outside.

Continuing therefore on the easy axis of letter replacements we should also try out two new combinations: Oil-topia (Naft-opia) and Bush-topia – ideal and perfect real estate for non-stop news coverage: CNN-topics, Fox-topics, ABC-topics. Atomic, Bio and Chemical weapons are in these days abbreviated as WMD, weapons of mass destructions – a NO-topos to be searched for specifically in places we don’t like but amassed at home, in the country I am living.

Utopia, Atopia or Whatever-topia are ideal and perfect projections to deal with our shortcomings, our desires, our threats, our monsters, our visions, our art. Jenny Holzer’s truism “Protect me from what I want,” could be altered to “protect us from what we want, from what we are technically capable of and from what we already do.” Utopias are usually “we-places” – “we-real estate” – and mostly intentionally good if one doesn’t analyze their implied consequences.

I take utopian writings and artistic productions as critical mirrors for existing places, states and situations to enjoy and to study. But I get very nervous when somebody tries to implement them. I prefer therefore to refer this desire for Utopias and UFOs to perfect and less perfect, ideal and less ideal informational spaces, to libraries, to computers, to archives, to books and newspapers.

Rainer Ganahl, 7/29/03, New York