Operating manual for Utopia Island

Tarnogórskie Centrum Kultury, Przytyk Gallery | Jana III Sobieskiego 7 | Tarnowskie Góry (PL)
25/01/2020 - 23/02/2020

Automatic or manual mode? The future will show.

The exhibition is a part of an individual artistic project undertaking the current, recently rapidly increasing problems of the “crew” travelling “on the spaceship Earth”. The presented works relate to the issues selected by the artist, several possible versions of the future observed through the prism of the present.

At the heart of this process is a strong fear about the future of our planet, named by Richard Buckminster Fuller as the Spaceship Earth. The American architect, constructor and philosopher warned about the limited energy resources of the “spaceship” already a few decades ago, calling for a revision of the principles underlying our relationship with the surrounding world. His famous phrase “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” speaks of the need to unite the efforts and activities of people acting in various, often extremely different fields in order to develop a new model of the functioning of our civilization.
In the near future, we will face enormous changes related to the technological revolution, which, combined with the real threat of climate change and its consequences, foreshadows a crisis of humanity on a global scale. Scientists agree that the impending changes are the greatest challenge our civilization has ever faced. To meet them, we will need a new story that will work in the future circumstances, one that we will be able to identify with. Unfortunately, none of the contemporary political and religious narratives can fulfil this function. That is why the awareness and united approach is so important in order to develop an up-to-date manual on how to handle societies and phenomena that the future will bring.

The artist found it important to look at the above-mentioned issues from the perspective of architectural and urban concepts and utopian ideas. In the originally meaning, the word utopia was the name of a non-existent place, an ideal island of happiness. Longing for a better world resulted in a vision of an ideal society in which there is no room for evil and social injustice, a vision that does not take reality into consideration and therefore has no chance of coming true. It is just a daydream that generates fantastic ideas, architectural forms and visionary cities of the future. But it is dreams of a better future, just like the utopian longings for social order and fulfilment, that animate us to act, which is what makes them valuable. In this way, they can become a part of the future of our planet – the “spaceship” floating in the universe, and inspire us to develop a shared new narrative for humanity.

The perception of the cities of the future consists of information about the developing technology, its possible applications and the impact on future communities. In combination with climate forecasts, this allows us to identify several separate threads that became the basis for the creation of the artistic works presented at the exhibition. Each of the pictures is a separate vision of the future, and is a mixture of scientific theories, fiction, utopia, real development opportunities and threats. Such hypothetical journeys into the future make it easier to feel the connection it has with the present and at the same time understand the responsibility for creating a good operation manual.


Katarzyna Kowalska


Curator: Marta Burian

Photo and graphic: Kaja Cyfka