The Summit of Practical Utopias gathers 35 activists, artists, game designers, researchers and visionaries on the island of Brioni, President Tito’s former summer residency in the Croatian Adriatic Sea. Organised as a collaboration between YKON (FIN/DE) and Drugo More (CRO) in dialogue with Electra (UK), the three-day Summit takes the form of a reality game where game rules, rather than summit conventions, define the interactions between participants or players.
The Summit of Practical Utopias
26—29 September 2013
Brioni Island, Croatia
The Summit of Practical Utopias was born out of the legacy of The First Summit of Micronations, held in Helsinki in 2003. Kings, presidents and representatives of ‘self-made’ countries such as The Principality of Sealand, Ladonia, NSK-State, Kingdoms of Elgaland & Vargaland, Transnational Republic and State of Sabotage met each other in an unprecedented three-day exchange. However, the question of how the imaginative and experimental politics of micronations could be turned into a radical transformative force, how micronations could behave as ‘agents of change’ required further elaboration. The delegates of the Helsinki summit therefore unanimously voted to reconvene and Brioni was suggested as a suitable location for this next gathering. Now a decade later, The Summit of Practical Utopias seeks to elaborate and extend the possibilities of this initial meeting.
The participants in the 2013 Summit of Practical Utopias represent a wide cross-section of contemporary Utopian practices and include:
Noora Aaltonen & Maiju Suomi (ukumbi.org), Fouad Asfour, Tina Auer & Tim Boykett (Time’s Up), Đorđe Balmazović & Dragan Protić (Škart), Željko Blaće (qSPORT) Jon Brunberg (Utopian World Championship), Cecilia Carlsson (Non-Violent Communication), Nik Gaffney & Maja Kuzmanovic (Fo.am), Gilles Fontolliet (Palestinian Space Agency), Lauren Higgins (MetaCurrency, The Hub), Deborah Hustić (Radiona), Juha Huuskonen (Open Knowledge Foundation, Pixelache), Raed Ibrahim, Sonal Jain & Mriganka Madhukaillya (Desire Machine Collective), Laurence McKeown, Dejan Kršić, Ivica Mitrović, Ivan Novak (NSK), Pepe Nummi (Grape People), Dinko Peračić & Miranda Veljačić (Platforma), Gordana Ristic, Christopher Robbins (Ghana Think Tank), Mabel Tapia, Richard Thomas, Emina Višnić, Stephen Wright and Georg Zoche (Transnational Republic)
The term was coined specifically for the Summit. It reflects the desire to change the current system of society by developing alternative proposals that outline the first practical steps towards long-term processes of change. Practical Utopia insists on the necessity of Utopia as an intellectual concept interlinking the fantastical and the pragmatic in bringing about social, political and artistic change.
Replacing conventional conference formats, the Summit will use game design to provide a playful yet serious system of exchanges. The sights and infrastructures on the Island will be turned into a playground that will support the players to collaborate in novel ways.
The game is designed by the artist collective YKON and inspired by Buckminster Fullers’ ‘World Game’ (1961). It was created as a proposal for an alternative system of pedagogy: a game, rather than a curriculum, as the main platform of learning. It was intended as a tool to formulate competing, comprehensive design-science approaches that would “solve all the problems on Planet Earth.”
Initially a stone quarry, and later a luxury retreat for the wealthy, the archipelago became Josip Broz Tito’s summer residence after World War II. Tito was the central figure in Yugoslavia’s experiments with organisational structures, experiments which profoundly transformed its society. Brioni played a crucial role in the forging of the Non-Aligned Movement, and was the site where self-managerial socialism met international celebrities and world leaders. This beautiful and provocative Island speaks both of the possibility of imagining alternative systems, of restructuring social life, whilst simultaneously problematising this desire.
THE OTHER BRIONI is a one-day festival within the Summit of Practical Utopias and a part of the annual local Mine Yours Ours Festival. On Saturday 28 September existing sites and sights will be re-interpreted by the players of the Summit, providing an alternative tour to the Island. Among others, there will be a sound-based intervention at the Tito Museum, a reanimated zoo, a summit of parrots, open-air cinema and Tito Disco.
About the Organisors:
YKON was founded as an artistic initiative and platform for exploring utopian fantasies and the political imaginary in relation to concrete sociopolitical structures and concerns. Emerging from and working in the field of contemporary art, YKON merges the languages and approaches of a number of disciplines, such as game design, scenario development, experimental education, dynamic facilitation, social architecture and alternative economies.
Ulu Braun, Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Pekko Koskinen, Christina Kral, Tomas Träskman
DRUGO MORE [http://www.drugo-more.hr]
Working as a non-profit organisation in the field of culture since 1999, Drugo More identifies and explores topics of social relevance and general interest to the community we all live in. By working across disciplines locally, regionally and internationally, Drugo More connects an artistic programme with discourses in science and cultural theory, propelled by a strong belief in art as a vital cognitive tool.
Davor Mišković, Petra Corva, Ivana Katić
Electra is a London based contemporary art organisation which curates, commissions and produces projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts. Through close dialogue with a range of venues and collaborators, Electra presents its projects across the UK and internationally. At the heart of the organisation’s practice is a process-based relationship between artist, curator and audiences, which seeks to give the projects space to find their own rhythm, public outputs, and discourse.
Fatima Hellberg, Irene Revell
Supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, AVEK, FRAME, IASPIS, Nordic Culture Point, Drugo More, Republic of Croatia Ministry of Culture