Dystopian Optimism

posted in: Research

Our future imagination suffers from an impasse between technological optimism and dystopian visions of the end of humankind. ‘Dystopian Optimism’ counters globally interconnected precariousness as the condition of our time. It recognizes dystopia as a societal reality and proposes to complement it with optimism: a fiction that enables one to project a different future on oneself or the world. Embedded in the fields of contemporary audiovisual arts and art history, Dystopian Optimism functions as a compass to navigate an iconological map of imaginaries around ecological issues.

This PhD research centres around a slow voyage to and around Taiwan as a test‐case for future world imaginations. Aside of a dissertation disclosing the concept of Dystopian Optimism and the iconology (profound image interpretation) of ecological imageries, this artistic research consists of a continuous videographic journal that results in a series of films.

Supervisor: dr. Wendy Morris (LUCA)
Co-supervisor: prof. Hilde Van Gelder (KU Leuven)
Duration: 2019-2023
Follow Joeri Verbesselt:
Joeri Verbesselt (°1990) is a Belgian activist-artist-art-historian who investigates future ecological imagination. His artworks can have various forms: writings, films and performances. Verbesselt published several essays and one short story. His graduation film 'retreat' had its world premiere in the CPH:DOX international film festival of Copenhagen in 2020. Since November 2019 onwards, his artistic research is clustered in a PhD in the Arts, for which he obtained a Fellowship from the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). Verbesselt is a member of the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture (University of Leuven), an arts organization which publishes and organizes lectures, conferences and art exhibitions. He is also a member of the artist and research collective ‘deep histories fragile memories’ (LUCA School of Arts, Brussels). Currently, he is conducting field research and filming within indigenous contexts in Taiwan.