REVERSE is pleased to present SEASTEAD AT NIGHT, a new exhibition by artist Victor Liu.  Inspired by a real-life initiative to build ‘seasteads‘, or floating city-states in the oceans, the exhibition is a meditation on several intertwined themes: the desire for alternatives to the nation-state, utopia as a business proposal, and sociopolitical fashion as a culmination of the neoliberal project.

In the words of the artist:
“I came across this idea for building floating cities in the oceans.  Shining cities in the seas, havens for the disaffected, the libertarians, the communitarians, whatever your stripe, just not your poor, tired, huddled masses (since the helicopter fees are killer).  Imagine experiments in living, making your own government, each city in competition, in a free market of societies.  It seemed to me the perfect expression of a neoliberal utopia.  I felt the temperature rising a couple degrees, like a global warming of temperaments and ideological stances.  This became the setting for a fable.”

The exhibition at REVERSE is presented as a kind of World’s Fair in the future, in a world being populated by seasteads.  The installation includes three sets of work.  The first is a video beacon floating in a pool in the back room, and on its skin plays an infomercial for the seasteading life.  This video relies on a heavy use of stock photos and PowerPoint transitions, the tools of a crack corporate marketing team.  The geodesic domes in the front room call to mind the work of Buckminster Fuller, a forerunner in designing seaborne cities.  Presented as seastead proposals, they evoke the utopian dreams and aspirations, yet are literally tied down by various objects which encourage allegorical readings about unacknowledged baggage behind the seasteading initiative.  The last set of work incorporates flags for new seastead tribes, where animals playfully stand in for tribal identity.  The return to tribal affiliations marks the end of an imagined fable.

Victor Liu is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY.  His art making is motivated by the question of how art relates to society, and in particular, how art can create spaces to see ourselves and to think about our times. He is a recent graduate of the MFA Art Practice program at the School of Visual Arts, with previous degrees at Yale University and UC Berkeley.  His artwork has been shown internationally, and he was a recipient of a NYFA fellowship in 2005.

As part of the exhibition programming for SEASTEAD AT NIGHT, Utopia School will be hosting 2 classes at REVERSE- Utopian Response to Ecocrises? on Saturday, March 14th and Architectures of Desire: Seasteads and Nomadic Flows on Saturday, March 21st.