The revolution will not take place. Maybe because it already happened. This project is a systematic approach on how to change the history of 2011 into the history of a revolution, having its effects upon our life today. It is a rewriting of events past in order to make space for utopian thinking in present and future.
Why rewrite history? In my work I have found that, if you change the history of the surrounding world, it opens new perspectives on the way things are. This effect is intensified if you create a whole detailed alternate reality that could have emerged at one simple, small turning point. A new universe of thought opens up.
The year 2011 was chosen because it is not too far away and thus hasn’t been completely historicized yet by the discourse. On the other hand, this year already contains several events such as the arab spring or the london riots that – to put it with Slavoj Zizek – allow us to dream dangerously. la revolution n’aura pas lieu is a project in three phases and will be adaptable to whereever it will be shown.
I am currently in the first phase – research and interview. In this phase, it is all about the bigger structure of this “revolution”: what kind of revolution (a food revolution? a rethinking of the political or the ecological?), which effects on general life has it had and so on. During this phase, I am video-interviewing people all over europe with the same questionnaire. This questionnaire slowly leads them towards their utopia, enabling the participants to elevate their thinking beyond TINA (There Is No Alternative). However small the revolution or change the participants talk about, their wish or idea will in some way or another be incorporated into the bigger picture.
First research results can be checked out here (in German): Revolutions Kugelfest
In the second phase, I will analyze and compare these interviewsOut of these different people’s voices a map and timeline of events having taken place in 2011 will be generated. The multiple perspectives will be formed into one – working exactly opposite to regular top-down historiographical processes, where the individual’s experiences are formed to fit the collective memory.
This map and timeline will be crucial to find the name, purpose and dimensions of this revolution. Specific events for specific cities have to be written and be incorporated into the bigger picture. This second phase will overlap with the first one, as gathering the date and adjusting the outcome preferably go hand in hand.
In the third phase I will be moving towards a product, a work. For quite a while I have thinking about a book, however to include as many different views on the subject as possible and to heighten its impact and credibility, I have come to the conclusion that this history has to grow into the form of an exhibition. Or rather, multiple exhibitions, for in every partaking city there is another focus with other specific events having taken place there.
The exhibition will consist of created or found and newly contextualized artifacts, quotes, songs and chants, pictures, texts and maps. During the exhibition time, a classical exhibition-program will be happening: public talks, tours, re-enactments and so on. Thus, in its very form, the exhibition will not be discernible from a documentary exhibition – creating one huge mockumentary on history. Additionally, some of the local interviewees will be taken into account as contemporaries telling their story. Every exhibition will be different and thus again involve interviews with inhabitants of the respective cities to get an even more detailed picture. The exhibitions themselves will likely be developed in collaboration with local artists.
To accompany the exhibition and as a lasting, sustainable gift, every city will receive a (freely downloadable) site-specific audiotour where the events of this 2011 revolution are retold, layering a new history above the city’s already existing one.
This project opens up new, utopian ways of thinking, as well as gives hold to a more playful approach towards history, making it a power everyone can seize.
Also, it’s huge. Overwhelmingly huge. And many other things came up in the meantime. So it’s on hold until I find a solution to either make a smaller or a group of people that want to pull this off with me and, of course, some kind of financing.