“New Dystopia,” by Mark Von Schlegell

“New Dystopia,” by Mark Von Schlegell

Psyched to crack this, from the very brilliant Mark Von Schlegell. From the sleeve: Put together in the wings of the “Dystopia” exhibition at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, acting as a resonance chamber, this illustrated novel raises the issue of possible futures in the form of a critical fiction, and involves the outposts of the novel to come. About New Dystopia, the city in which the novel’s protagonists live, the narrator states: “As an American … one only came to New Dystopia City to become an artist. That only there was it a way of life.” According to von Schlegell, we are living in that new metropolis. He states, “Dystopia is today.” Plus: The exhibition Dystopia is the offshoot of a fiction written by the American science fiction novelist and theoretician Mark von Schlegell. Curated by Alexis Vaillant of the CAPC, the art-works of 46 international artists are presented within a world turned horror film. Utopia’s wretched flipside is presented not as subject matter but as setting, not as end but as point of beginning. According to von Schlegell and Vaillant the enlightenment tradition of Dystopia—“the imaginary place or condition in which everything is as bad as possible”*—offers contemporary art specific pathways (of re-mix, collaboration and radical tradition) into present-tense science fictional struggles with the disintegrating real past and imaginary future. Immersed in the present, dystopian art presumes a weakest-possible point of view within an unresolved fictional narrative presumed to be worsening. As with the theory of black holes birthing new universes within them, it is within concentrated dystopia that the actual utopias appear.(*Oxford English...
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