Cultural activist John Jordan has been described as a ‘magician of rebellion’ by the press and a ‘domestic extremist’ by the UK police. Co-founder of ‘Reclaim the Streets’ (1995-2000) and the ‘Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army’, co-author of ‘We Are Everywhere: The irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism’ (Verso,2003) and ‘A Users Guide to Demanding the Impossible’ (Minor Compositions, 2011). Isabelle Fremeaux is a popular educator, action researcher and deserter of the neo-liberal academy where for a decade she was Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College London.
Together they coordinate The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, bringing artists and activists together to design tools and acts of disobedience, infamous for launching a rebel raft regatta to shut down a coal fired power station, turning bikes into machines of disobedience during a climate summit and refusing to be censored by the BP sponsored Tate gallery. Co-authors of the film and book Paths Through Utopias (La Découverte, 2011), they now live and work on the zad of Notre-dame-des-landes, ‘a territory lost to the republic,’ according to the French government, where an international airport project was abandoned after 50 years of struggle.
Just as the storms of the financial crisis began, Isabelle and John set out on a journey across Europe to experience examples of post-capitalist living. They were not looking for escapist Neverlands, blueprints for a perfect future or universal systems, but communities who simply dare to live differently, despite the catastrophe of capitalism. For 7 months they travelled through 11 international communities and sharing different ways of loving and eating, producing and sharing things, deciding together and rebelling. The authors became convinced that within the invisible interstices of the dominant system, the spirit of present tense Utopias is thriving. The recent Occupy movement, with its direct democracy and experiments in micro alternative societies are further proof that there is a hunger for visions of post-capitalism. Through Utopias is a unique film and publication whose words and images blur the boundaries between the present and future, the imagined and the realised. Making us crave another way of living and challenging us to start now.