January 27, 2005 - Utopia Station - at World Social Forum in Porto Alegre
January 27, 2005

at World Social Forum in Porto Alegre

the UTOPISTICS poster designed by Rirkrit Tiravanija and Immanual Wallerstein

Utopia Station 
at World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil

January 26-31, 2005

Utopia Station being not one but several way-stations, as a project it comes in steps. The next step moves it to the annual global meeting of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil on January 26-31, 2005. Utopia Station this time will become a Station without walls:

a video program (with work by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Matthew Barney, Dara Birnbaum, Pash Buzari, Paul Chan, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Joseph Grigely, Pierre Huyghe, Isaac Julien, Alexander Kluge, Jonas Mekas, Lygia Pape, Philippe Parreno, Martha Rosler, Natasha Sadr Haghighian, Anri Sala and Edi Rama, Allan Sekula, Anton Vidokle, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Lawrence Weiner, and Yang Fudong) has been designed to be broadcast late night as part of the regular programming of TVE – Televisao Educativa Rio Grande do Sul (www.tve.com.br );

a bi-lingual radio show, hosted by Arto Lindsay, for Radio Ipanema FM, 94.9 MHZ
(www.ipanema.com.br ) on Sunday at 1 p.m. Brazilian time (4 p.m. GMT).

the Utopia Station poster project (www.e-flux.com ) will appear, one poster at a time on city walls;

a traveling bus will be used to improvise mobile programming, projections, screenings, performances and presence on the grounds of the Forum and around the city;

a daybook of observations, exchanges and projects will be compiled subsequently and made available on the e-flux website.

For this will also be a Station at work.

The World Social Forum, a truly international meeting of activists, concerned global citizens, public intellectuals and private consciences, was constituted as such in 2001. The Forum aims to provide the ground for change and to enable those working for better, more equitable civil societies throughout the world to meet, learn, listen and debate. In this, it is decidedly not aiming to constitute itself as a political party and it is always stressed that political parties per se are not permitted to organize events within its purview. The events and panels of the Forum have included some of the most famous radical voices of our day (Nelson Mandela, Arundhati Roy, Mustapha Bargouti, Shirin Ebadi, Gilberto Gil, Jose Bove, Immanuel Wallerstein), alongside the less well-known grassroots street activists (environmentalists, human rights advocates, labor organizers, resistance movements, antiwar demonstrators, sharp critics of the neoliberal economy, protesters). It is usually, and accurately, described as a movement of movements. Its battle cry is utopian: Another World Is Possible.

In many ways the dynamic of the World Social Forum provides Utopia Station with a parallel formation. It too is a way-station but much larger (150,000 people are expected); it too hosts a great variety of activities (at any moment there are 50 panels and activities to choose from); it too prizes talking and working together. But the relation of art to everything else has not been its primary concern. This year, for the first time, the WSF has put culture forward on the agenda and asked how culture’s work can express the diverse horizons of the movements, the contradictions and perspectives. Culture is being understood simply as part of a liberated social life. Its role is up for discussion. This is a discussion that those involved with Utopia Station will join.

The decision to take Utopia Station to Porto Alegre sends a jolt into the path of the project-it is tantamount to completely changing its institutional ground, which heretofore has been indebted to universities, a biennale, a museum and a theatre. This week Utopia Station will find itself in a situation where the rules for art’s behaviour have not been set and the ground from which those concerned proceed is in fact a globalized view of the world that does not yet have a single project or a name. To give it the utopian language of Edouard Glissant, we have all been offered a tremblement.

co-produced by Jochen Volz and the CACI Foundation, Belo Horizonte

Utopia Station
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