After the Order - Graphs
series of collages
Imagining utopias is like making collages: some (ideal) extracts and (perfect) cut-outs of reality are juxtaposed and glued into complex flawless scenarios, into surreally harmonious worlds. Fictional societies are usually inspired by experimental communes, by idyllic bits from the real world, by paragons of existence and aspirations to "fix" the system. They combine fragmented stories with the will to channel visionary gestalts and unforeseen complexities.
The compositional strategy of collaging takes images apart and rearranges them in ways that suggest new situations, chimerical imageries, conflicting orderings or strange ontologies. It is a strategy that utilises fragmentation, discontinuity, and dialectical oppositions to stage fluid relationships. Collage requires that viewers attend to multiple worlds simultaneously. It demonstrates how the many become the one. At its heart lies an impetus both deconstructive and reconstructive, enabling diverse possibilities of how old things may coexist in new ways. It brings together materials from different contexts, each with its own history, revealing myriad perspectives and often attracting incompatible realities. It is a poetry of relativity, a concrescence never finished, however much there may be the illusion of completeness. It is a practice built on the relationships of elements in time and space. An unsettled process of becoming, an interplay of resonances and connections.
We employed this compositional analogy in the making of collages instigated by The Pyramid of the Capitalist System, a caricature published in The Industrial Worker magazine in 1911. This fascinating illustration depicts a cross-section of the strata of capitalist society. It shows a human pyramid built out of different social classes, with the wealthy few on the top, and the impoverished masses at the bottom.
Using cut outs from various magazines, newspaper, Spartakiada books and photographs, we concocted unexpected collisions, improbable ideologies, imaginative confrontations of explicit issues, and challenging aesthetic adventures. The desire to propose alternative world structures grew into a series of collages envisioning imagined societies, experimental utopias and new world orders. New versions of social orders are founded on the paradox of composing 'worlds' from competing sources interlocked in strata. The technique of collage allowed reality in its concrete variety to penetrate the composition, while also making it possible for the resulted pattern to engage with that reality. The collaged diagrams are in effect a combination of trompe l'oeil and trompe l'esprit.