Elevate the 21st Century

We are in the year 2011. 11 years into a new century and into a new millennium.

Utopias and Dystopias

In the past, the 21st century was often portrayed as an age of technological progression and social harmony. Goals and expectations were set high. People dreamt of a unified global society that would be capable of solving all problems of our time together. There would be no room for poverty and hunger on “Spaceship Earth”. Peaceful coexistence of human beings and mother nature would become a reality.

But on the flipside, numerous science-fiction books and movies predicted a dark and unpromising future. The crisis of capitalism, tyranny of totalitarian regimes, the horror of world wars and fear of nuclear catastrophes provided a plethora of material for dystopias. 1980s cinema showed us that our planet could be populated by artificial life forms being chased by Blade Runners and a post-apocalyptic 2029, in which globally dominating computer systems could send out android Terminators to annihilate the last remaining members of our species.

Progression and Regression

The present day presents us with groundbreaking developments that were just recently unimaginable. Figuratively billions of people have mobile and wireless access to a worldwide network of sheer unlimited amounts of information. People are able to communicate globally and free of charge via videostream and can navigate digitally in 3D with GPS. Technologies that aid the supply of renewable energy are evolving at an incredible pace. Illnesses that were believed to be incurable can now be treated thanks to medical innovations. So-called trans-humanists even predict that due to today’s exponentially increasing technological progression, human beings will able to overcome death in 2029.

The crass opposite of said progression is the current state of democracy and social justice. Wealth and power are more unequally distributed than ever. Exploitation, oppression and violence are still a worldwide daily occurrence. Nature is being recklessly destroyed and more than one billion people are starving today.

People are injected with a subjective feeling of threat posed by migration, crime and terrorism. Many are afraid of social decline due to the current economic situation. This has created a climate in which hard-earned fundamental rights and freedoms are sacrificed to ensure the illusion of safety. Today’s austerity policies are not only worsening the economic crisis but also endangering social peace and democracy.

Seize the Opportunity!

It is plain to see that a fundamental social change is inevitable. Especially, but not only due to the dynamics of climate change and resource depletion it is necessary to accomplish this transition within the next few decades. The Elevate Festival will address this issue as well as discuss how forward-looking initiatives, technological developments and alternative social visions and practices can contribute to a world in which all people can live well.

All presentations, discussions, workshops and film screenings are free of charge!