The So-called Utopia
Appearing under the pseudonym Gustave Affeulpin in 1976, and coinciding with the inauguration of Centre Beaubourg in Paris, this fictional text imagines a radical libertarian space submerged beneath the newly erected centerpiece of French Culture. In a world turned upside down, the seventy-six stories submerged beneath the official centre for culture provide a platform for alternative modes of work and creation. Reporting, in sometimes hysterical, sometimes more poetic language, and with tongue firmly in cheek, the narrator recounts the vacillations of free organisation, in a satire that never takes its eye of the main target: state sponsored culture.
This is the first translation and publication of the text in English, a project undertaken by the artist Luca Frei as an attempt to both revitalise a significant cultural treatise incorporating many elements of Meister’s sociological thinking, and to reflect upon the subjective role of the artist in transferring ideas from one cultural framework and era to another.
The so-called utopia of the centre beaubourg – An interpretation is co-published by Book Works and Casco as part of Book Works Fabrications series, edited by Gerrie van Noord. Printed offset in an edition of 1,000 copies, b&w, 216 pages with a colour soft cover. Designed by Luca Frei, 200 x 125 mm. Supported by Gemeente Utrecht and Mondriaan Stichting. Launch supported by Pro Helvetia.