The artwork New Babylon was an anti-capitalist city perceived and designed in 1959-74 as a future potentiality by the architect and visual artist Constant Nieuwenhuys. It is through the invention of this vision that Constant realised the inherent horror of a social utopia and was subsequently filled with an overwhelming sense of dread; because “New Babylon was meant to be the figure of good that took the name of the cursed city and transformed itself into the city of the future” – Henri Lefebvre.
Now that the future has come and gone – we – the people of today, consider ourselves to be living archives and use this as a point of departure to think about other present potentialities that we may inhabit. By emphasizing the multiplicities that we contain within ourselves and within the networks we inhabit, we propose that difference is the ultimate form of unity.
In acknowledging the live-archival nature of our own existence, we wish to (re)enact, (re)unlock and (re)realise new possibilities, drawing upon Constant’s method of imagination. In doing so, we seek to challenge dominant structures and discourses, without resorting to universal narratives.
We welcome artists and researchers to offer methods of (re)framing otherness, which can lead to new ways of thinking about and being in the world(s). We look to treat the gallery space as an active site where collaboration, participation and inter-generational dialogues are highly welcomed; we are keen for artists and researchers to also consider the site of the show as part of their proposal.