Utopia as an expression of unlimited imagination and desire is a concept that has always fascinated artists. Art can see in utopia a means to lift the restrictions of reality and accomplish the free expression of its visions. Starting from this connection and its various instantiations in the history of art, this workshop deals with the multiple significations, implications and dimensions of utopia. In everyday discourse the term ‘utopia’ is usually connected with an ideal future, with what seems impossible within the confines of reality, and is thus bound to create margins for many and often contradictory interpretations. Utopias are the places of dreams and hopes for a better life, which provide an escape from an always incomplete and constraining status quo. Sometimes they involve grandiose metaphysical schemata, other times they take the form of ephemeral shelters distanced from detailed sociopolitical reflection. Always, however, their creation is based on the criticism of established (political and aesthetical) institutions and social structures. Inspiring antithetical political and artistic practices, praised but also criticized, utopia has been a focus of debate for many disciplines and approaches. By blending theoretical discussion, aesthetic reflection and the artistic work of the participants, this workshop aims at critically exploring the various interconnections between theory and praxis, vision and reality, desire and finitude, utopia and dystopia.

Utopia and Youth

Within the context of the generalised youth protests that rocked Greece last December – also gaining widespread international recognition – this year’s workshop focuses on the relation between utopian discourse and youth. A historical study of youth movements reveals that youth has always functioned as a nodal point of resistance against the socio-political status quo of the day, advancing radical political transformation and social change. This is not to say, however, that all youth mobilization has a progressive orientation; on the contrary, it has also been lured by utopias of exclusion such as the Nazi Utopia of Racial Purity. Hence, the workshop will deal in depth with youth creativity and youth violence, will examine the role of youth subcultures in social and political mobilization, focusing on both the creative as well as the destructive dimensions of youth activism.

6th Painting Studio ASFA (Athens School of Fine Arts)

Basic timetable:

2 July: arrivals
3 July – 6 July: presentations
14 - 15 July: preparation of the presentation of the work
16-17 July: show and presentations of final works
18 July: end of show - departures

Number of Participating Students: 11

Organizer-Facilitator: Vassilis Vlastaras, Visual artist, Lecturer, ASFA
Assistant Organizer-Facilitator: Maria Glyka, Visual artist.

26 June, 2009

Michael Jackson on the Road to Utopia...

Photographs from Michael's Neverland Ranch


Pop star Michael Jackson dead: Report

Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:17pm

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop giant Michael Jackson, who took to the stage as a child star and set the world dancing to exuberant rhythms for decades, died on Thursday, TMZ website reported. He was 50.
There was no official confirmation of the reported death and spokespersons for Jackson could not be reached for comment.
"We've just learned Michael Jackson has died," TMZ said.
"Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back," the entertainment site said.
It added, "A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived."Earlier, the Los Angeles Times said the singer had been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital by fire department paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived at the singer's home.
The newspaper said paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before taking him to the UCLA Medical Center hospital.
Jackson had been due to start a series of comeback concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010. The singer, whose hits included "Thriller" and "Billie Jean," had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months.
The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.
His lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, makes him one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
He lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation.
There were concerns about Jackson's health in recent years but the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.


Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael -- first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.
Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released "Thriller" in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.

25 June, 2009

Youth subcultures as a response (symbolic resistance) to oppression

In the 1960's, a group of Marxist academics at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham suggested that youth subcultures constituted the way in which different classes of young people manifested their opposition to the dominant social-cultural order. As they argued, youth subcultures enter into struggle with the dominant order, and indeed, they 'seek to modify, negotiate, resist or even overthrow its reign - its hegemony'. Hence, 'all-youth subcultural phenomena, whether in the realm of style [mods, scooters, teddy boys, punks, rockers, etc.] or of action (riots, hooliganism) can be read as "symbolic", "displaced"... manifestations of the class struggle and the contradictions of capitalism'.

(See S. Hall and T. Jefferson (1993), Resistance Through Rituals-Youth Subcultures in Post War Britain, London and New York: Routledge. First published in 1975 as Working Papers in Cultural Studies no. 7/8)

[Youth]'...subcultures are made up of youth dissatisfied with the mainstream adult world who seek to carve out their own niche. They offer disadvantaged youth symbolic resistance to oppression, an alternative lifestyle, a "cultural space" through which to challenge dominant values, meaningful leisure time and solutions to existential dilemmas'

(See Brake in R. Haenfler (2006), Straight Edge: Hardcore Punk, Clean-living Youth and Social Change, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press).

The Emo Subculture

The Goth Subculture

The Skinhead Subculture

The Punk Subculture

The Hippie Subculture

The Teddy Boy Subculture

The Mod Subculture

The Rocker Subculture

Proposed Bibliography on Youth

Amit-Talai V. and Wolff H. (1995), Youth Cultures: A Cross Cultural Perspective, London: Routledge.
Angel W. (1990), Youth Movements of the World, Harlow: Longman.
Boren M.E. (2001), Student Resistance-A History of the Unruly Subject, London and New York: Routledge.
Brown S. (2005), Understanding Youth and Crime, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Cavalli A. and Galland O. (1995), Youth in Europe, London: Pinter-A Cassel Imprint.
Chisholm L. and Kovacheva S. (2002), Exploring the European Youth Mosaic, Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.
Cohen P. (1997), Rethinking the Youth Question, Basingstoke: MacMillan Press.
Coleman J. and Hendry L. (1996), The Nature of Adolescence, London: Routledge.
Craig S. and Bennet S.E. (1997), After the Boom-The Politics of Generation X, London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Epstein J. (ed) (1998), Youth Culture: Identity in a Post-modern World, Malden Mass: Blackwell.
Fornas J. and Bolin G. (eds) (1995), Youth Culture in Late Modernity, London: SAGE.
France A. (2007), Understanding Youth in Late Modernity, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Frank T. (1997), The Conquest of Cool, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Hall S. and Jefferson T. (eds.) (2006), Resistance Through Rituals, Abingdon: Routledge.
Hodkinson P. and Deicke W. (eds) (2007), Youth Cultures: Scenes, Subcultures and Tribes, London: Routledge.
MacDonald R. (ed) (2000), Youth, the ‘Underclass’ and Social Exclusion, Abingdon: Routledge.
Miles S. (2000), Youth Lifestyles in a Changing World, Buckingham: Open University Press.
Mizen P. (2004), The Changing State of Youth, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Muncie J. (2006), Youth and Crime, London: SAGE.
Nava M. (1992), Changing Cultures-Feminism, Youth and Consumerism, London: SAGE.
Roche J., Tucker S., Thomson R. and Flynn R. (eds.) (2005), Youth in Society, London: SAGE.
Savage J. (2007), Teenage-The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, London: Chatto & Windus.
Wallace C. and Kovatcheva, S. (1998), Youth in Society-The Construction and Deconstruction of Youth in East and West Europe, Basingstoke: Palgrave.