Utopian Movements

Glimpsing Cracks in the Present: Acts of Utopian Desire and Resistance at Gezi Park and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy

  • Francis Tarpey-Brown (La Trobe University)


Present prefigurations of a dystopian future are visible at every turn. Amidst the ongoing development of authoritarian capitalism, the rising cultural and institutional power of what many have termed neo-fascism, transnational organisations warning of imminent environmental devastation, decreasing standards of living paralleling growing wealth inequality and the prevalence of social and psychological crises of depression and disaffection, a commitment to action based on a desire for a radically altered and more just world seems futile and even dangerously irresponsible. We are compelled to be pragmatic and alleviate the catastrophes to come. However such a reading of the possibilities of the present relies on a particular understanding – and experience – of ‘our time’ as homogenous, historically myopic and more or less permanently stuck under the thumb of the hegemonic terms that govern it. Such hegemony, though, is both necessarily contingent and contested. Against this chronopathology or time-sickness, turning our gaze towards acts and events that manifest a utopian desire allows us to see the cracks in the present demonstrating the unsettled, dis-jointed and dis-adjusted nature of ‘our time’. This article explores two events of resistance that manifest(ed) such desire and call on us to acknowledge, explore and embrace the cracks. The Gezi Park protests that erupted out of Istanbul in 2013 demonstrated possibilities that almost always fall under the sign of utopian impossibility. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy likewise has been dismissed as an impossible entity in itself: reclaiming space from the colonial occupiers, developing programs to support and strengthen the presently vulnerable whilst demanding and enacting a desire for a different future; and struggling in solidarity with others around the globe. Such acts haunt any proclaimed closure of the present and demand a critical inheritance of their manifestations of utopian desire if we want to see the light through the cracks. This article attempts to at least provide a glimpse the spectral heritage of such utopian acts.


Keywords: Utopia; Utopian Desire; Resistance; Time; Temporality; Gezi Park; Protest; Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Keywords: Utopia, Utopian desire, Resistance, Time, Temporality, Gezi Park, Protest, Aboriginal Tent Embassy

How to Cite:

Tarpey-Brown, F., (2019) “Glimpsing Cracks in the Present: Acts of Utopian Desire and Resistance at Gezi Park and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy”, Studies in Arts and Humanities 5(1), 67-76. doi: https://doi.org/10.18193/sah.v5i1.165

Download PDF
View PDF

Published on
30 Apr 2019
Peer Reviewed