Today Yr. Love, Tomorrow the World: Instituting an Unknown Future

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

This paper addresses the question of how the instituent radical imaginary can perform a break with the instituted social imaginary through new forms of art and education. The focus will be on a 'hidden history' going back to the early 1960s of artists creating spontaneous universities. These artists wanted to engineer culture by creating an 'invisible insurrection' that would produce both a new type of humanity and a new society in a single stroke. This history thus elucidates possible exits from the present towards an unknown future.

Using key concepts from Castoriadis,the paper examines a case study from the 1960s, Alexander Trocchi's 'Sigma Project'. Sigma combined Beat and Situationism in order to utilise a type of art that had to be created in situ by the 'sigma-centres'. These should go beyond art and the city in order to create a global, networked 'shadow society' that one day would grow to encompass everything. This will be compared to a case study from the 1980s: Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY), an attempt at creating an autonomous, non-transcendent cult with global “Access Points” and roots in Punk, Mail Art and Fluxus. To conclude, the paper will briefly engage with the resurgence of free universities and self-organised learning sites in contemporary social movements where free school initiatives such as the Really Free School, Tent City University and the Bank of Ideas have shown an engagement with alternative education and post-neoliberal learning in the wake of the fiscal crises, Occupy and the neo-liberalisation of higher education.

In short, it is my argument that our contemporary crises is a financial crisis is an ecological crisis is a psychological crisis. These crises have created a crisis of legitimation for our institutions and demand that they change to solve the crisis. What does this radical imaginary entail for the instituent institutions that we create and reproduce right here, right now? What are the limits to our dreams?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date17 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2015
EventCastoriadis Revisited: Questioning the radical imaginary in contemporary art and curatorial practice - Loughborough University, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jun 2015 → …


ConferenceCastoriadis Revisited
LocationLoughborough University
CountryUnited Kingdom
Period17/06/2015 → …
Internet address

ID: 171791574