This book is a companion to the Atopolis exhibition held at WIELS as part of the arts program for Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture. In contributions by a score of artists about our era and environment, the project juxtaposes the history of the town of Mons and the surrounding Borinage area with that of international modernity. What we generally call "modernity", a history of multifarious and far-reaching conquests in a bid to control the world by means of science and technology, is also about ways in which art plumbs the hidden dimensions of our behavior, ideas and subjectivity. While Atopolis seeks to rediscover models of social and cultural utopias developed by leading figures in this region of Wallonia, the exhibition also shows fascinating works by artists attentive to and critical of the modern era of globalization, an age of uniform information channels and free trade, which has given rise to an unprecedented degree of connectivity Ė and disorientation. Atopolis echoes the ideas of Édouard Glissant, the Martinican philosopher of identity and migratory flows. It is a metaphor for our digital age, which, in attaching great importance to the development of models of cohabitation and coexistence, seems to refer directly to the social utopias that emerged in this particular region. This publication is constructed around two interdependent axes: the first part is based on texts by four different authors in the form of notes on all the artists who bear some relation to the exhibits. The second consists of a number of textual and iconographic elements drawn chiefly from the Mons-based Mundaneum archives, extracts from the writings of Edouard Glissant, Raoul Vaneigem, Paul Lafargue et al., and previously unpublished material by Allan Sekula about the Borinage.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition held at the ManŤge de Sury in Mons from June to October 2015, curated by Dirk Snauwaert and Charlotte Friling
Editors: Sébastien Biset and RaphaŽl Pirenne
Essays by Jan Baetens, Sébastien Biset, Yves Citton, Charlotte Friling, RaphaŽl Pirenne, Dirk Snauwaert, Yoann Van Parys and Elvan Zabunyan
Contributing artists: Sa‚dane Afif, Nevin Aladağ, Francis Alˇs, Danai Anesiadou, El Anatsui, Yto Barrada, Huma Bhabha, Vincen Beeckman, Vlassis Caniaris, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Meschac Gaba, Jef Geys, Thomas Hirschhorn, David Medalla, Adrian Melis, Benoit Platéus, Walter Swennen, Diego Tonus, Jack Whitten et al.
Graphic design: Harrisson (JoŽl Vermot) and Myriam Dousse
A joint publication of (SIC) and WIELS
Published in 2015
In English and French
20 x 26 cm