participating artists:

Francisco Montoya Cázarez

Antoine Renard 

Oval Office (Jaakko Pallasvuo & Mikko Gaestel)

Luc Mattenberger 

Gwenola Wagon & Stéphane Degoutin 

Baden Pailthorpe 

Sarah  Sweeney 

Anne de Vries

Bettina Pousttchi  

Sascha Pohflepp & Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg


Elisa R. Linn / Lennart Wolff / Judith Lavagna



Friday, August 23, 2013 at 7 pm

07 September, 2013

Future Apparatus of Loving Grace; readings on Utopia

Rodrigo Maltez Novaes.


When discussing the concept of utopia, questions are raised about the meaning of the future in the present. Designing a fictive society, a utopia searches for the possibility of practical intervention in existing conditions to create accelerated progressive trends and to prevent destructive ones. As one of the first philosophers of his time, Francis Bacon addressed the quantitative quota of knowledge and the infinity or finiteness of progress in his utopian novel “Nova Atlantis” (1627), describing a far different and technically advanced civilization. This shows the vision of progress in the classical sense was the central notion, considering the enlightened idea of the unbreakable chain between economic growth, scientific progress and the pursuit of social justice.

Since the 19th century, characterized by the advancing automation of machines, science and technology finally became a medium for a better future. Theorists and philosophers referred to the close link between technological progress to the emergence and support of the capitalist and consumerist economic system. Following this, progress is not only connected with the increase of labor productivity, but involves both qualitative innovations and dynamic efficiency which have the potential to create new incentives for the products aimed at human consumption.  However since the early 20th century the euphoria of Bacon’s vision of progress as well as the desire for a future ideal state is fading away with the emergence of self-critical concepts and the dystopian narrative warning about the ideological abuse of the power of innovation.

Presently with the use of daily basis devices in the post-utopian age, our constant strive for innovation is still increased by a satisfaction and a fascination for rapid technological development. This “technophile intoxication” froze the conscienceless of the original and creative power of information technology and rises the question about the manipulative dimension of the current progressiveness regarding current debates about computerized weapons and surveillance technology. For those who raised distrust in the consequences of innovation as described in Norbert Wiener’s forewarning cybernetic theory, the ideas seem to fulfil themselves: the machine‘s capability to overcome human control and threaten man’s freedom and individuality. A neo-materialistic view (depicting the concept of virtuality as being deeply materialistic) reveals the human potential to make good use of media literacy and critically handle complex possibilities of material basis, if the humans were aware of its synthetic structure. One thing is for sure: as an objection against stagnation, powerlessness and a fatalistic philosophy, utopia currently has not reached its end. There is only left the question of what concepts of utopia are revealed in our time and age where virtual and real space flow into one another and produce new codes of thinking.

The exhibition “new atlantis” focuses on international contemporary artists who address with culturally critical and optimistic approaches the idea of progress and its origin in utopias dedicated to the genesis and the impact of innovation. They constantly investigate new definitions of the materiality of our consumeristic society and its mechanisms of production that is also ingrained in disciplinary military structures. A select few are dealing with evolutionary development processes and are experimenting with the synthesizing of heterogeneous objects from our environment as well as their mutual influence. The augmented body by chemical substitutes, auto-generated mechanism and the lasting public memory of our digital culture are examined in comparison to humans capacity of action, thinking and remembering. The artists question and develop breaking the existing boundaries of genetically generated organisms and mechanical hybrids to enrich our future visions. Others reveal the importance of new technological additions and how they are used for authoritative purposes through the interaction between economic, politic and military spheres. The aesthetics of intelligent machines and expanded systems is hereby used to disclose the possibility for a diametric definition of their capabilities and functions. Therefore it is up to the viewer to decide on their inherent power as being good or evil.                                        

supported by:

pro helvetia Swiss Arts Council 

new atlantis

08/24/2013 - 09/13/2013

e / d

Baden Pailthorpe, Cadence I, 2013

Baden Pailthorpe, Cadence I, 2013 / Oval Office (Mikko Gaestel / Jaakko Pallasvuo), Cooler, 2013

Luc Mattenberger, Treuil, 2010

Luc Mattenberger, Treuil, 2010

Antoine Renard, Utopic compost (New Earthlike Samples), 2013 / Anne de Vries, “Hold on“, 2013

Anne de Vries, “Hold on“, 2013

Anne de Vries, “Hold on“, 2013

Antoine Renard, Utopic compost (New Earthlike Samples), 2013

Antoine Renard, Utopic compost (New Earthlike Samples), 2013

Sarah Sweeney, “The Forgetting Machine“, 2013

Sascha Pohflepp / Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg , “Growth Assembly“, 2009

Gwenola Wagon / Stéphane Degoutin, Cyborgs in the Mist, 2011/2012

Luc Mattenberger, Help for a Revolution, 2013; / Bettina Pousttchi, Starker Staat 2 / 10, 2003

Bettina Pousttchi, Starker Staat 2, 2003

Bettina Pousttchi, Starker Staat 10, 2003

Francisco Montoya Cázarez, The Golden Apple, 2013