‘Be realistic, demand the impossible’ is one of the most famous slogans to come out of the May 1968 student movement. It marked a shift away from a politics of pragmatism, away from already existing institutional and political forms, and towards a demand for giving power to the imagination.
Over the last forty years later the situation is both radically different and strangely the same: the impossible is still demanded, but this time it is demanded of us. Immense efforts are mobilized to stabilize capital (bailing out the banks), while declarations of austerity are used to justify cuts to social welfare, pensions, and virtually any forms of public good that still exists. Perhaps the slogan for today should be something more like ‘be impossible, demand the realistic’ – but even this would be a ‘realism’ where the horizon of possibility seems to have shrank.
What is one to make of this? The philosopher Gilles Deleuze once said that a creator is someone who ‘creates their own impossibilities and thereby creates possibilities’. What are the current possibilities for art and politics that are made possible by the impossibility of the moment? If the Queen in Alice in Wonderland can declare she once believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast, can the powers of imagination and creativity find it within themselves to believe in six impossible politics, even before breakfast?
Join us for an informal ‘breakfast’ with our friend from Autonomedia who is in Singapore for a short holiday. He will lead a discussion based around the book A User’s Guide to (Demanding) the Impossible and also talk about Minor Compositions, a series of interventions & provocations drawing from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of everyday life. There will be copies of the book A User’s Guide to (Demanding) the Impossible available for sale on the night.
Entry at $5 (including tea/coffee); there are many food and drink options on the menu. Advanced booking is a must as there are very limited seats. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short writeup about yourself and your mobile number.