Utopien nach dem Stillstand – Stillstand der Utopien?

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Thomas Macho
Friday, June 4, 2021
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Open University, Urfahrmarkt area


A sticker makes its way through southern Germany, for example, on the tiles of bathroom stalls. A friend from the art scene sent me a photo. We see palm trees, boats, the sun, the sea – not in color, but in black and white – with the question, “Where is utopia?” An answer to this question is complicated because it is not the “when” utopia is, but rather “where” it should be discovered. After more than a year since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we can only dream of a “return to normal,” of successful crisis management with the help of tests and vaccinations, and, if necessary, of permanent periods of slowing down, of breaks, or of canceled vacation trips and family celebrations. The crisis of utopias is a crisis of imagination, creativity, and thought experiments. Not only does the world seem to stand still, but so does our mind. How can this mental lethargy, which looks surprisingly like depression, be overcome?


Thomas Macho (*1952) served as Professor of Cultural History at the Department of Cultural History and Theory, the Humboldt University of Berlin, from 1993 to 2016. In 1976, he received his doctorate at the University of Vienna with a dissertation on the philosophy of music. In 1984, Macho habilitated in philosophy at the University of Klagenfurt with a thesis on metaphors of death. Since 2016 he has been director of the International Research Centre for Cultural Studies (IFK) at the Kunstuniversität Linz in Vienna. In 2019 he was awarded The Sigmund Freud Prize for scholarly prose by the German Academy for Language and Poetry and, in 2020, the Austrian State Prize for Cultural Journalism.