Of late and for good reason, social media has been regarded as dystopian, rather than utopian. But occasionally, in minor but important ways, our lives on the Internet resemble the best and purest kinds of interlinked, communal, and open lives we have dreamt up.
In the two days since Utopian Acts 2018 – our big, exhausting, wonderful experiment in dreaming better together – concluded in a cacophony of synthesisers and hugs, we have been soaking up the lives of new and old utopian friends online. We’re sharing some of our favourite photos of the day below, and there are so many thoughtful and joyful tweets to read through under the hashtag #utopianacts18. But one of the things we’ve most enjoyed in the last few days is watching how you have all continued your utopian lives beyond Utopian Acts. We see you going to drag shows and feminist dance nights, commenting on each other’s posts, continuing the discussions you started and absorbing the discoveries you’ve made.
It’s hard to come up with what feels like a proper and fitting response to Utopian Acts, perhaps because so much happened over the course of those twelve hours. In between solving IT problems (Windows is truly the least utopian operating system), helping lost attendees, and drinking large cups of hot Ribena, we had time to make new friends, hug old ones, and listen to incredible, challenging, and thoughtful papers, workshops, and discussions which will take a long time, as they should, to circulate through our feelings and thoughts, before hopefully making their way back out into the world through our own actions.
We want to thank everyone who came to, worked at, and helped with Utopian Acts 2018, and we want to be able to do so individually and mindfully, but as far as an expression of universal love and gratitude goes, indulge us in this. Without those of you who unhesitatingly said “yes” a year ago; those of you who gave time, presence, and money to making your part of Utopian Acts the best it could be; those of you who cooked the food, fuelled us with drinks, and gave us a cosy space to be in all day long; those of you who came with huge ideas and those who came with small stories; those who wanted to teach and those who were ready to learn; those who danced; those who built utopias out of tables and chairs, out of paper, out of string and glue; those who found time to ask each other if there was anything they needed; those who explained and argued and questioned across social, cultural, and political lines to find new and common ground: without each and every one of you, exactly how you were on this beautiful day, utopia would be that little bit further away. All of these are utopian acts. To bring moments like these into the often difficult and frightening world of the present is exactly what we set out to do a year ago, and so we couldn’t be more happy and more grateful. Thank you.
Raphael Kabo and Katie Stone