anti-utopias has functioned for over five years as a curated thematic archive of contemporary art featuring established and emerging artists and connecting them with a broad international audience. The platform underwent four major design revisions between February 2012 and April 2017. In the process, it showcased the works of 320 artists from over 70 countries and has published more than 900 editorial materials—from artist interviews and review essays to curated press information about the most relevant events in the art world. The project focused on eight structural topics—from body representations to politics, technologies, and emerging new natures—to uncover joint articulations between diverse artists, media, and approaches. It aimed to bridge the work of painters and photographers with some of the most exciting digital artworks, media, and installation practices, to outline alternative perspectives on the interrelations between different artistic expressions. The platform has developed close relations with art galleries and publishing houses around Europe, enabling curatorial opportunities in Berlin and London. Unfortunately, in April 2017, the project was discontinued, and its contents archive was lost; while the social media accounts remain available on Twitter or Facebook, the website was officially closed in 2021.
After securing the copyrights to continue the project, we currently redesign anti-utopias as a conversational platform focusing on long-form artist interviews and analyses around the role of artistic practices in the current sociocultural context. We continue the original mission to bring together artists from different communities and expand the network of featured artists, yet we take the project forward in new directions. Working together with some of the most exciting artists, critics, curators, galleries, and institutions—the upcoming iteration of anti-utopias aims to respond to current conditions and privileges the work and creative thinking of practitioners grappling with social, political, environmental, and extinction-level matters to bring forth alternative creative thinking. The previous art magazine now morphs into a hybrid platform that conducts multidisciplinary research and experiments with new forms of presenting art. We aim to showcase reflective, critical, and transformative projects to tap into art's world-making and imaginative power amidst global challenges and the need for reformed imaginaries. We look at how artists inspire counter-gestures and counter-strategies while reflecting on the intersections between art and decentralized practices to foster new collaboration models and challenge societal perceptions of technology.
anti-utopias outlines other ways forward and moves away from standard art historical perspectives or the confines of regulated art markets to explore atypical, subversive, and unexpected perspectives. Art questions the principles and rewrites the norms; it creates the conditions for new perceptions and relationships between subjects, objects, and experiences. As Jehanne Dautrey observes concerning design, “Today, making a chair is not about making yet another chair—it is about questioning the very principle of sitting in the contemporary context, and the nature of the tasks that we associate with this posture; and this work is just as valuable as that aimed at creating tomorrow’s objects.” Art is a means to counter and alter dominant perceptions and expectations, to inquire and challenge the limited structures of the status quo. At the same time, the worsening economic outlook for artistic and design practices raises the question of what sort of economies can support, nurture, and expand art and design research. What role can alternative creative imaginaries play in the industries when they are not associated with the designer’s activity (product or service creation, project phasing, etc.) or users' activity? Can artistic imaginaries remain attached to objects and functionalities while creating something radically different that provides novel ways of fostering human experiences?
The new iteration of anti-utopias is an opportunity to connect with more diverse and inclusive audiences and communities, generate new investigation topics, advocate for artistic frameworks that develop alternative understandings of current global crises—and connect artists with art centers, museums, residencies, art collectives, grassroots initiatives, and projects where their work can gain new significance.
A new version of anti-utopias is currently in development and is expected to re-launch in 2023. Identity design developed in collaboration with Echo Branding © Xpose Art Collective, 2011—2021 / Stranger Projects OÜ, 2021—2023. Sample designs of previous website versions © Xpose Art Collective, 2011—2021 / Stranger Projects OÜ, 2021-2023.