29 November 2009

I’d like to ask first of all please let it not be that Utopia with doves and waterfalls and soft white clothes and doors that open as soon as they are approached

and please let it not be that utopia with all in harmony and accord

and please not that utopia of agrarian fantasy, with all of us in touch with or at peace with the land, working the land together or weaving together in some endlessly temperate and agreeable climate, caught in simple pleasures, eating simple wholesome food

and please – just as strongly, please – not that techno utopia where no one works at all since the machines – ever more clever, resourceful and skilled – are doing everything, hidden in basements, miniaturized or concealed behind the walls

and please not that morbid utopia that so many churches speak of or hope for or promise, but only come the day, meaning after death

and not that utopia of absolute freedom or that of total equality

or that of the flattening of creeds, races, genders and all that into one single humanity or brotherhood

and not that utopia of original ignorance, Adam and Eve, the nakedness that is not nakedness no thank you

and not that utopia of free love 

or boundless and open desire

or that hallucinatory psychedelic utopia of the human dissolved into the universe

and not that utopia of the virtual, with its useless pretended transcendence of flesh and biology

and again please, not that utopia of endless oneness and endless accord

not likely peace, or everlasting peace

not likely peace at all

and not the satisfaction of all desires 

and not the exhaustion of all need

and please not an end to difference

no to the utopia determined by sense

no to the utopia determined by utility

no to the utopias of knowledge, understanding, and progress

please not the uniformity of consent

or that of placidity

no to the erasure of anger

please not the utopic reduction of human space to that of a prison in which all needs have been anticipated, prescribed, provided for

please not the reduction of everything to the realm of the solvable

please not some temperate climate of banality cotton-woolled and perpetuated ad nausem

not late-capitalist laissez-faire bliss

not communistic brotherhood

not either theocratic order

or rationalist decency

not some medicalised or genetically modified utopia in which all personalities and physicalities have been balanced, remixed and extended forever in a calculation of chemicals and genes

please not the utopia of the old and wise

and please not that utopia of the young and the carefree


not men and women in accord with each other in all the possible combinations,

or mankind so called at accord once again with ‘the animals’ so called

no, not equality 

nor comfort

nor acceptance

not even tolerance

we'll have none of it

a utopia of dispute might be better

a utopia of permanent contestation

anger and the unruly.

But not even those will satisfy

let’s have instead the utopia which resists all names,

refuses all belonging

refuses all place, definition or affiliation

i.e. not for us that which can be dreamed or imagined, described or spoken of

and not for us anything that can be caught in the noose of 26 letters (called an alphabet) and hanged

not for us what is offered

not for us what is given

not for us what is promised

not for us what is even possible

not that

not anything of it

but everything, everything which is other than that.


Friends, acquaintances, enemies i look forward to our eventual meeting,

and to your full acceptance of these my most reasonable demands.


Tim Etchells, on the train from Paris to London, the 25 October 2009.

[Written for the recent latenight program event on Utopia/Dystopia at Frascati Internationaal in Amsterdam. Also read in Munich at The Woodstock of Political Thinking two weekends ago].