Utopian Realities

100 Years of Now with Alexandra Kollontai

Cooperation HAU Hebbel am Ufer with Haus der Kulturen der Welt 

Reception and festival opening: January 12, 6pm, HAU1

With “Utopian Realities – 100 Years of Now with Alexandra Kollontai” HAU Hebbel am Ufer inquires into the topicality of political and artistic developments that became possible for a few years following the 1917 Russian Revolutions. It liberated utopian thinking by bringing it from a distant dream into the effective realm of everyday life. The first attempts to create a new world were made, but the potential of the political upheaval turned into its opposite in Stalinism only a few years after the revolution. 

What is the significance of the utopias of that time, and don’t many of these past ideas still appear future to us today? As part of the four-year project “100 Years of Now” by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, HAU is working with international artists to present four new productions, two different discussion formats, a music programme and installations, which will look backward to measure the distance to the past in order to understand current society in its political form and to update its own positionings. The work, the writings, and the life of Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952) are the productive inspiration here. The Soviet revolutionary and feminist turned the body, love and sexuality into a political topic, developing new models of family and educational policy.  

The Russian curator and critic Marina Davydova is collaborating with the artist Vera Martynov to develop a performative-installation that allows the audience to experience the connections between Russia’s political history and the present in space. The Argentine director Mariano Pensotti’s female protagonists look into how political ideals can be translated into everyday life. His cinematic play tells of a professor who gives seminars on the Russian Revolution and is confronted with the fact that revolutionary thoughts have not played any role in her life for a long time. The choreographer Simone Aughterlony, originally from New Zealand but now living in Berlin, and the American performer Jen Rosenblit thematise current forms of feminist politics and life practices in their performance. The Croatian artist Vlatka Horvat, in her first work for the stage, deals with the behaviours that people develop when previous structures collapse, as well as with the general insecurity that characterizes our current political situation. In the accompanying programme, the Berlin-based Lebanese actress, director and writer Lina Majdalanie creates a salon in which she submits concepts of cultural relativism to a feminist critique. The Dutch artist Jonas Staal makes an artistic intervention based on the current political crisis in Europe, bringing together transdemocratic organisations with the goal of proposing alternative communities. 

More information at: 

Accompanying the festival “Utopian Realities – 100 Years of Now with Alexandra Kollontai“ a new edition of the HAU-publication series features texts by the artists Marina DavydovaVera MartynovSimone Aughterlony and Jen Rosenblit, an introductory text by HAU director Annemie Vanackere, conversations with Lina MajdalanieMariano Pensotti and Vlatka Horvat and texts by Gisela Notz and Alex Demirović.


Utopian Realities is a co-production of HAU Hebbel am Ufer and Haus der Kulturen der Welt and takes place as part of “100 Years of Now”. Supported by Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien. Curated by HAU Hebbel am Ufer.