2.Dh5 2020: Defeating Dystopia?

The fourteenth edition of the yearly 2.Dh5 festival is coming to BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht in February of 2020, with the theme “Defeating Dystopia?”

Society is being disintegrated by ecological, economic and social crises and the extreme right and techno-dystopian reaction to these developments. For the oppressed and exploited our current reality is already a dystopia. Nonetheless, if current trends continue, as seems to be the case, this situation will only deteriorate further.

“The probability of apocalypse soon cannot be realistically estimated, but it is surely too high for any sane person to contemplate with equanimity.” Noam Chomsky

Does this realisation mean we should toss aside our hopes for a free and caring world? Raymond Williams wrote: “To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.” But is it not naive to hold on to hope when we acknowledge our current powerlessness to change anything fundamental about our trajectory? Is the dream that ‘another world is possible’ not exactly that: a dream? Should we not be looking for a new way to continue the struggle while retaining our dignity? Look the future straight in the eye and scream into the abyss: “Bring it on!”?

“Well of course I get depressed sometimes, yes I do.” Angela Davis

At times, this feeling of powerlessness can become overwhelming and paralysing. We aim to prevent this by tackling this feeling head-on and discussing it collectively, to break open the taboo that surrounds it. We hope this will have a liberating effect, and inspire us to continue the struggle, no matter the odds.

Because if there is hope to be found, we will find it in resistance. In the struggle. It is there that prefiguration of radically different futures and fleeting utopias take shape. Besides, far from everyone has given up hope. From renewed interest in Afro-futurism to the commons, post-work and even fully automated luxury communism; hopeful ideas abound.

Next to the theme “Defeating Dystopia?”, the festival will host several dozen workshops, discussion and talks about strategies, in depth exploration and action around feminism, queer, anti-racism, anti-fascism, de-colonisation, anti-militarism, international solidarity, climate/ecology, labour & class struggles, migration/no-border, internet freedom/privacy, right to the city/gentrification and all their intersections.

Frantz Fanon wrote: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” Despite everything, we are the generation that will determine the impact of the current crises. Let’s use this edition of the 2.Dh5 festival to figure out how to make this change.

The festival will take place at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht, a base for art, knowledge, and the political. It is part of the program series BAK, basis voor…,  in which BAK join forces with other organizations in addressing shared urgencies and developing propositions for a future of “being together otherwise.”