Lest the world turns ON – Utopias after stasis

The Department of Media Theories at University of Art and Design Linz adds a top-class symposium to FMR 21. Richard Sennett, Gloria Meynen, Thomas Macho, A K Dolven, Adam Merki and other experts from different fields will talk about the utopias after stasis. The symposium takes place from June 4 – 6, 2021, in combination with the Open University of University of Arts Linz, and includes a series of interesting lectures and talks in the immediate vicinity of the festival area at the Urfahrmarkt area near Ars Electronica Center.

Attention! Changed location from Saturday, June 5, 2021: University of Arts Linz, Domgasse!


  • Day 1 (Friday, June 4, 2021): Julia Grillmayr, Christina Gruber, Thomas Macho
  • Day 2 (Saturday, June 5, 2021): A K Dolven, Gaby Hartel, Gascia Ouzounian, Richard Sennett
  • Day 3 (Sunday, June 6, 2021): Echo Ho, Barbara Marcel, Maren Mayer-Schwieger, Adam Merki, Gloria Meynen, Enrique Tomás, Julian Umhaller

The number of guests on site is unfortunately limited due to the Corona restrictions.
Registration required: Please send an email with the subject: REGISTRATION // Symposium “Utopien”
to Required information for registration: name, email address, phone, date and program title.

The University of Arts Linz is obliged to store the data until 14 days after the event, after which they will be destroyed. During the event FFP2 masks are mandatory, the distance as well as the 3G regulation (= proof of vaccination, a PCR/antigen test or recovery).

Friday, June 4, 2021

2.00 – 3.30 p.m.
Julia Grillmayr and Christina Gruber: Dino-Henne-Ei (Lecture Performance, in German)
Abstract and biographies

4.00 – 5.30 p.m.
Thomas Macho: Utopien nach dem Stillstand – Stillstand der Utopien? (Keynote, in German)
Abstract and biographies

Saturday, June 5, 2021

12.00 a.m. – 12.22 p.m.
Screening with A K Dolven: Ja as long as I can (Vinyl, New York 2012/Berlin Edition Block 2013, in English)
Abstract and biographies

1.30 – 2.15 p.m.
A K Dolven in talk with Gaby Hartel: A Conversation on the Way. On Words and Sounds and Thoughts in A K Dolven’s Public Art (Talk, in English)
Abstract and biographies

3.00 – 4.30 p.m.
Richard Sennett and Gascia Ouzounian in talk with Gaby Hartel: Focus and Echo – on Art and Sound in Public Spaces (Talk, in English)
Abstract and biographies

Sunday, June 6, 2021

1.00 – 2.30 p.m.
Adam Merki, Julian Umhaller, Enrique Tomás and Echo Ho: Isolated Soundscapes: The Ear and the Speaker (Talk, in German)
Abstract and biographies

2.45 – 4.00 p.m.
Barbara Marcel and Maren Mayer-Schwieger: Andere Wälder (Talk/Video, in German and English)
Abstract and biographies

4.30 – 5.15 p.m.
Gaby Hartel and Gloria Meynen: Nach dem Stillstand (Talk, in German)
Abstract and biographies

Deceleration emerged as a counterculture and form of protest with the oil crisis, carless Sundays, and the first report of the Club of Rome in 1973. Since then, each decade has rediscovered slowness. The eighties countered fast food with “slow food” and dying industries with the first debates on unconditional basic income. The nineties sought slowness in the imperative of sustainability. The aughts buried the Concorde jet with flight shame and diminished growth. With every acceleration, there is a slowdown, every form of globalization finds its Bloomsbury.

For almost fifty years, we could dream of living in the woods: to jump ship from Capitalism through retreat, mindfulness, and slowness. You pitched a tent next to Thoreau’s log cabin and seemed to have escaped civilization. Deceleration was a part of an alternative lifestyle: a political and economic decision. The pandemic, on the other hand, played out this stasis overnight on a global scale. Walden Pond is everywhere: hermits as far as the screen can see. After living in our rooms for one year, each on their own island, only separated from neighboring shores by a thin wall, a retreat is no longer an option for resistance. While Thoreau’s hermit was speaking to birch trees and squirrels, waiting for his guest who never arrived, we have welcomed numerous guests on screens. The digital prostheses of interconnection (Zoom, Webex, MS Teams, …) have globalized stasis and illuminated in a pale blue light every face in every log cabin. For more than one year, the world has been recording itself holding its breath live. Complete isolation and disconnection do not accompany the current stasis but rather even more radical forms of interconnection. The globalization of stasis will rewrite and change the forms of protest and expression of the counterculture of deceleration. What succeeds life in the woods?

The frequency has slowed, sleep mode activated. On standby, but for how many months? We live in an interim between acceleration and stasis. Neither awake nor asleep, we wait for the world to turn on. What is the sound and aesthetic of isolation? How does “the now” in prolongation sound? What forms of active slowness existed, in which contexts did they arise, did they permanently change the view of work, attitudes towards mobility, and globalization in the long term? From June 4 – 6, 2021, artists, philosophers, musicians, and cultural scientists will question and research heterogeneous forms of slowness and boredom as a form of protest at the Open University of the University of Art and Design Linz. The aim is to respond to the current halting of plans and certainties with new narratives: What could or should the world look like after global stasis? What utopias will take the place of deceleration – what places are waiting beyond the woods? Which certainties do we have to tear down, which forests do we have to leave so that the world turns on?

Concept: Gloria Meynen, Department of Media Theories at University of Art and Design Linz.
Planning and Organization: Timo Feilen, Gaby Hartel, Maren Mayer-Schwieger, Adam Merki, Gloria Meynen, Julian Umhaller.