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Anti-Dystopian Congress© Eugen Korda

Anti-Dystopian Congress

Remember to imagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the ones you cannot live within.” Ruha Benjamin

We are surrounded by doomsday scenarios: Climate change, species extinction, democratic backlash, and an inhumane technization of the world point to negative futures. Dystopian narratives can be an alarm bell, but beyond criticizing the present, they make no offer for a better future. Dystopias rather show fatalism, resignation and hopelessness. Don't we need strong utopian visions to stand against dystopia? Utopias, after all, formulate desirable futures and thereby provide orientation for action. Nevertheless – as also described by Stanislaw Lem – great political utopias have become disenchanted after the failure of real-world communism and the unfulfilled promises of neoliberalism. We want to overcome the simplistic dualism between utopia and dystopia by not striving for the unattainably perfect utopia, but by actively resisting dystopian narratives of the future. Between utopia and dystopia lies anti-dystopia, the rebellion against inhuman and negative futures.

In memory of the science fiction author Stanislaw Lem, who would celebrate his 100th birthday this year, we organize “The Anti-Dystopian Congress”. The proposition: the future will be imperfect and chaotic, but we can make it a better place against all odds. Part of the congress curated by Isabella Hermann is a film program curated by German author and theorist Georg Seeßlen and will be available online via stream. Under the title TOMORROW´S HUMAN - THE HUMAN IN TOMORROW´S WORLD the film program will reflect the notion of identity and diversity in the era of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. The selection is intended to show that films under the label Science Fiction can also be completely different: No spectacles from the construction kit of popular mythology, no fantasies of eternal struggle, of destruction and apocalypse and no leading articles in futuristic disguise. It's about personal visions and transgressions, about film as a thought and form experiment, about freer thinking and narration beyond the simple duality of utopia and dystopia, it is about understanding the future as an open space that is more than just an extension of the present and its problems. It's about science fiction as a brave genre.

Film program on demand: 9 - 14 November 2021
Congress: 10 - 12 November 2021

The times given are CET (Central European Time).

The congress will take place on the online platform
Gather is a video chat platform designed to build customized virtual spaces and host virtual events in them. This makes virtual interactions more human.

Please, register for the event to receive updates on speakers, dates, film programme etc. Please note that the maximum number of participants is limited to 200.

This is a regional project by the Goethe-Institut Bratislava, Budapest, Krakow, Prague and Riga.

The implementation of the Anti-Dystopian Congress at gather takes place in cooperation with the agency playful solutions.

Congress Program

Wednesday 10 Nov 2021

THURSDAY 11 Nov 2021

FRIDAY 12 Nov 2021



Isabella Hermann © Isabella Hermann

Isabella Hermann (DE)

is a speaker, author and curator in the field of science fiction. Holding a doctorate in political science, she is interested in how science fiction and visions of technology construct and reflect sociopolitical structures and world politics. Isabella is also co-director of the Berlin Sci-fi Filmfest. Until recently she acted as program director of the Present Futures Forum at the Technical University Berlin. Isabella Hermann curates the Anti-Dystopian Congress. 

Isabella Hermann curates the Anti-Dystopian Congress. She moderates the keynote conversation with Cory Doctorow, which takes places on Wednesday the 10 Nov 2021 from 7.30 to 8.30 pm. Also you can meet her at the “Meet the Curator”-Sessions on Thursday the 11 Nov 2021 from 5.40 to 6.00 pm and on Friday the 12 Nov 2021 from 5.40 to 6.00 pm.

Georg Seesslen © Georg Seesslen

Georg Seeßlen (DE)

born in 1948, studied painting, art history and semiology in Munich. He was a lecturer at various universities in Germany and abroad and today works as a freelance author for "Die Zeit", "taz", "epd-Film", "Freitag" etc., and as a curator of film/art series and exhibitions. He has also written around twenty film books. Together with Markus Metz he works on radio features and radio plays. Georg Seeßlen curates the film program belonging to the Anti-Dystopian Congress.

The film panel discussion “Man of Tomorrow - Future Narratives in Film” with Georg Seeßlen takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 4.30 to 5.40 pm. Georg Seeßlen also participates in the discussion “Space Dreams in East & West” that takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 3.30 to 4.45 pm.

Michaela Musilová © adam685

Michaela Musilová (SK)

is an astrobiologist with a focus on life in extreme environments. Her space research experience includes working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; University of London Observatory; on NASA’s and UK Space Agency’s MoonLite project; being an analogue astronaut in NASA’s and the University of Hawaii (UH)’s HI-SEAS simulated mission to Mars, and commander of such a mission at the Mars Desert Research Station. She is currently the Director for HI-SEAS missions, as part of UH and the International MoonBase Alliance.

The keynote conversation with Dr. Michaela Musilova takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 8 to 9 pm.

Cory Doctorow © Paula Mariel Salischiker

Cory Doctorow (CA)

( is a science fiction author, activist and journalist. He is the author of many books, most recently RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults; HOW TO DESTROY SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM, nonfiction about monopoly and conspiracy; IN REAL LIFE, a graphic novel; and the picture book POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER. His latest book is ATTACK SURFACE, a standalone adult sequel to LITTLE BROTHER; his next nonfiction book is THE SHAKEDOWN, with Rebecca Giblin.

The keynote conversation with Cory Doctorow takes place at Wednesday the 10. Nov 2021 from 7.30 to 8.30 pm.

Chen Qiufan © Chen Qiufan

Chen Qiufan/ Stanley Chan (CN)

was born in 1981, in Shantou, China. He is a graduate of Peking University and published his first short story in 1997 in Science Fiction World, China's largest science fiction magazine. Since 2004, he has published over 30 stories in Science Fiction World, Esquire, Chutzpah and other magazines. His first novel, The Abyss of Vision, came out in 2006. He won Taiwan's Dragon Fantasy Award in 2006 with "A Record of the Cave of Ning Mountain," a work written in Classical Chinese.

The discussion “Automated Eschatologies” with Chen Qiufan takes place at Friday 12. Nov 2021 from 2 to 3 pm.

Lukáš Likavčan © Romana Drdova

Lukáš Likavčan (SK)

is a philosopher focused on technology, ecology and visual cultures. He is a lecturer at Center for Audiovisual Studies FAMU (Prague), faculty member at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design (Moscow) and New Centre for Research and Practice, and a member of Display – Association for Research and Collective Practice (Prague). He is an author of Introduction to Comparative Planetology (Strelka Press, 2019). More info at

The discussion “Automated Eschatologies”, hosted by Lukáš Likavčan, takes place at Friday 12. Nov 2021 from 2 to 3 pm.

Bogna M. Konior © Bogna M. Konior

Bogna M. Konior (PL)

is Media and Technology editor at the Hong Kong Review of Books, editorial board member of Oraxiom: A Journal of Non Philosophy, and the director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Asia. She was recently a visiting researcher in Media and Culture at the University of Utrecht, and is lecturer at the Department of Cultural Studies in Lingnan University. Her work in media cultures and the Anthropocene is published in Transformations: Journal of Media and Culture.

The discussion “Automated Eschatologies” with Bogna M. Konior takes place at Friday 12. Nov 2021 from 2 to 3 pm.

Aleksandra Sowa © Aleksandra Sowa

Aleksandra SOWA (DE)

is a new media researcher. Together with cryptologist Hans Dobbertin at the Horst Görtz Institute for Information Security, she conducted some of the most important European research in the field of cryptology and information technology security. Author of numerous specialist publications. She was also involved in the online editorial work for Gerhard Schröder's "election campaign tour.

The discussion „Solutionism, Tech Fixes & Ethical Tech” with Aleksandra Sowa takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Zsolt Miklósvölgyi © Aron Idi

Zsolt Miklósvölgyi (HU)

is a critic, editor, and art writer from Budapest, Hungary. He studied aesthetics and philosophy at the PPCU in Hungary. He has been a visiting researcher at the Humboldt University in Berlin and at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He holds a PhD degree in Literary and Cultural Studies. He is is a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Berlin-Budapest-based art collective and publishing project "Technologie und das Unheimliche" (T+U) and editor of the Café Bábel essay journal.

The event “Local Cosmologies - Comparative Etnofuturists”, moderated by Zsolt Miklósvölgyi takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Vít Bohal © Louis Armand

Vít Bohal (CZ)

is currently a PhD candidate at Charles University Prague, focusing on xenofeminism, feminist theory, critical cultural theory and philosophy of technology. He is member of the Diffractions collective and has co-edited and authored a number of publications and collections such as Reinventing Horizons (display, 2016), Allegorithms (LPB, 2017), Speculative Ecologies: Plotting through the Mesh(LPB, 2019) and trans*migrations: cartographies of the queer (LPB, 2020).

The event “Local Cosmologies - Comparative Etnofuturists” with Vit Bohal takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Márió Z. Nemes © Gabi Csutak

Márió Z. Nemes (HU)

born 1982 in Ajka, Hungary. Poet, criticassistant professor of aesthetics and philosophy at the ELTE Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies, Budapest, Hungary. He is member of the Attila József Young Writers’ Association (József Attila Kör, JAK) and the Hungarian PEN Club. In the beginning of 2009 he won the Móricz Zsigmond Literary Fellowship for his poetry. His academic research focuses on anthropological aesthetics, post-human theories, contemporary literature and visual arts.

The event “Local Cosmologies - Comparative Etnofuturists”, moderated by Márió Z. Nemes takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Rike Flämig © Franziska Cazanave

Rike Flämig (DE)

Rike Flämig is a Performer & Choreographer, Cultural Worker & Theologian creating documentary, site specific and eastern futuristic works reflecting on power structures at work while making visible underseen perspectives. In POSTOST 2O9O she inquired together with Anna Hentschel and Zwoisy Mears-Clarke feminist utopias and conceptual drafts of a self organized East Germany after the fall of the wall in 199O and projected them into the future. The dance production and fictive 1OO year celebration POSTOST 2O9O was shown at Sophiensaele Berlin between two Lockdowns in 2O2O. 

The event “Local Cosmologies - Comparative Etnofuturists”, with Rike Flämig takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Daniel Grúň © The Julius Koller Society

Daniel Grúň (SK)

is an art historian, curator, writer and art critic. He studied art history at Trnava University (SK). In 2009 he completed his Ph.D. thesis and published a book titled Archeológia výtvarnej kritiky. Slovenské umenie šesťdesiatych rokov a jeho interpretácie. Currently he works as an Assistant Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, and as a chair and researcher of the Július Koller Society. In 2010 he won the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory.

The event “Local Cosmologies - Comparative Etnofuturists” with Daniel Grúň takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Kaj Duncan David © Michelle Moura

Kaj Duncan David (GB/DK)

is a Berlin-based composer of experimental music. Many of his pieces are audiovisual, exploring gestalt relations between sound and light in concert settings. Increasingly his research-led practice deals with themes at the intersection of speculative theories of mind and matter, anthropocene studies, and science fiction. Alongside concert works, he has devised theatre/music/opera/installation hybrids, created music for dance, and performed and released electronic music.

Kaj Duncan Davids music performance “All Culture Is Dissolving” takes place at Wednesday the 10. Nov 2021 from 8.30 to 9 pm.

Deniss Hanovs © Helsinki Collegium for advanced studies

Deniss Hanovs (LV)

has acquired his PhD in 2003 in the area of cultural history and media history. Having analysed the history of Latvian national movement in the 19th century, he has followed this issue in his other publications and projects which concern theory of culture, authoritarian regimes in interwar period. Recently he has turned to the history of European opera of the 18th century and completed research on Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. He has been teaching in various universities in Europe.

The discussion “Space Dreams in East & West”, moderated by Deniss Hanovs, takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 3.30 to 4.45 pm.

Rudolf Rosa © mff-uk

Rudolf Rosa (CZ)

is a computational linguist, focusing on automatic generation of texts, multilingual processing, and interpretation of artificial neural networks. Since 2011, he has been doing research at Charles University in Prague. Rudolf is the head of the THEaiTRE research project, which deals with automatically generating theatre play scripts using AI. The project has already produced the first theatre play script, titled "AI: When a Robot Writes a Play", which was put on stage at a theatre.

The panel discussion “AI. Or the Future of the Arts?” with Rudolf Rosa takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 8.30 to 9.15 pm.

Jörg Piringer © Lorenz Seidler

Jörg Piringer (AT)

born in 1974, currently living in Vienna, Austria, is a member of the institute for transacoustic research and a member of the vegetable orchestra. He is radio artist, sound and visual poet, musician and has got a master degree in computer science.

The performance of Jörg Piringer takes place on Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 7.30 to 8 pm. Jörg Piringer also participates in the panel discussion “AI. Or the Future of the Arts?” that takes places at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 8.30 to 9.15 pm.

David Koš´ták © Alena Hrbková

David Košťák (CZ)

is a playwright and a dramaturge of Svanda Theatre. He was born in 1991 in Prague. He graduated in Theory and criticism of theatre at Prague’s DAMU (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). His own plays were performed in multiple European theatres and were well accepted. David also writes poems and translates theatre plays. He has experience with international co-production workshops for students (DAMU & Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA; DAMU & The New School of Drama in New York, USA).

David Košťák participates in the panel “AI. Or the Future of the Arts?” which takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 8.30 to 9.30 pm.

Elīna Reitere © Agnese Zeltina

Elīna Reitere (LV/DE)

is an independent film scholar and critic, 2nd editor-in-chief of the Latvian film magazine She studied audiovisual culture, film, media and performance studies in Riga and Mainz. For her academic film reviews she has been nominated for Normunds Naumanis Prize for Art criticism in Latvia in 2019. 

The discussion “Space Dreams in East & West” with Elīna Reitere takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 3.30 to 4.45 pm.


Sonora Broka © Agnese Zeltina

Sonora Broka (LV)

Starting from 2005 Sonora Broka (LV) has been curating both national and international film programmes for the Riga International Film Forum Arsenals. In 2014 she participated in the creation of Arsenal's successor RIGA IFF, where she has been working as an Artistic Director for eight years. Sonora Broka hosts the radio show “Piejūras klimats” (Coastal Climate) on Latvian National Radio, writes film reviews for the monthly magazine "Klubs", and for the portal

The film panel “Tomorrow´s Human - Future Narratives in Film” with Sonora Broka takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 4.30 to 5.40 pm.

Aleksandra Przegalinska © Aleksandra Przegalinska

Aleksandra Katarzyna Przegalińska-Skierkowska (PL)

Polish philosopher, futurologist, doctor of human sciences and habilitated doctor of social sciences, publicist. Professor at Kozminski University, Vice-Chancellor for International Cooperation Deaprtment since 2020. Author of the book artificial intelligence "Sztuczna inteligencja. Nieludzka, Arcyludzka" (Artificial Intelligence. Inhuman, Superhuman).

The discussion „Solutionism, Tech Fixes & Ethical Tech” with Aleksandra Katarzyna Przegalińska-Skierkowska takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Lorena Jaume-Palasí © Lorena Jaume-Palasí

Lorena Jaume-Palasí (DE)

is the founder of The Ethical Tech Society, a fact- and theory based non-profit organization focused on automation and digitization processes with regards to their social relevance. Her work centers on ethics and legal philosophy. 2017 she was appointed by the Spanish government to the High Level Expert Council on Artificial Intelligence and Big Data and is a former member of the EU High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence.

The discussion „Solutionism, Tech Fixes & Ethical Tech” with Lorena Jaume-Palasí takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Wenzel Mehnert © Wenzel Mehnert

Wenzel Mehnert (DE)

After studying social and business communication, Wenzel Mehnert has been working as a research assistant at the Berlin University of the Arts since 2016. He works in the department for time-based media, writes and teaches experimental methods of future studies at the intersection of science and art. His PhD is on “The practice of speculation in literature, design and foresight”. He focuses on the intersection between Speculative Fictions and the assessment of New and Emerging Science and Technologies.

The discussion „Solutionism, Tech Fixes & Ethical Tech” moderated by Wenzel Mehnert takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 6 to 7.15 pm.

Ľubica Drangová (SK)

Studying Theatre management at Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and using as many opportunities as possible for travel and informal education even during her school years. Ľubica gained experience in various fields such as event production and dramaturgy, creative writing and PR. Loving art and technology and the new options that the combination of these two worlds brings, she started digging into this field in 2010. Since 2015 she is organizing Bratislava Game Jam.

The presentation “Critical Video Games” where Ľubica Drangová presents three Games out of the Bratislava Game Jam takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 5 to 5.45 pm. 

Matej Fandl © Matej Fandl

Matej Fandl (SK)

is a programmer who studied Cognitive science at the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics at Comenius University Bratislava and University of Vienna. He has keen interest in artificial intelligence, natural interfaces, multi-agent modeling and computer vision. True believer in interdisciplinarity and avid seeker of news from the world of programming languages. He uses his technical skills to create captivating online and offline experience.

The presentation “Critical Video Games” where Matej Fandl presents three Games out of the Bratislava Game Jam takes place at Friday the 12. Nov 2021 from 5 to 5.45 pm.

Robert Bramkamp © IFF-Hamburg GmbH

Robert Bramkamp (DE)

has spent the last 35 years making a series of innovative films that combine fact and fiction (e.g. TESTSTAND 7). In cooperation with the artist Susanne Weirich he has developped various crossmedia narrative projects like or the Sci-Fi feature ART GIRLS, which is based on artworks by Weirich. He taught at Pasadena Art Center and Filmuniversity Babelsberg. Since 2008, Robert Bramkamp has been Professor of experimental film at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (HFBK).​

The film panel “Tomorrow’s Human - Future Narratives in Film” with Robert Bramkamp takes place at Thursday the 11. Nov 2021 from 4.30 to 5.40 pm.


Ronit Wolf © rw portraits of munich

Ronit Wolf (DE)

Born in 1979 within the sol-system; emerged in Munich after travelling the galaxy at stardate: 2009. She collaborates with human Beings, entities and diverse aliens - intergalactically - to create a positive prospect for the future. Creativity and knowledge is bundled for best pratice. Apart from that, Ronit uses the serendipity- principle for collaborations and developments within our linear notion of space-time (

The Closing Keynote Conversation with Ronit Wolf takes place at Friday 12 Nov 2021 from 8 to 9 pm.

Theresa Schlesinger © Katja Strempel

Theresa Schlesinger (DE)

has been a permanent dramaturg at Theater Bremen since 2019. From 2015 to 2017 she worked as a dramaturgy assistant at the Schaubühne Berlin. In 2018, she took part in the International Forum of the Theatertreffen and was a dg:starter scholarship holder. In 2021, she received a teaching position at the Theaterakademie Hamburg and co-directed the OUTNOW! Festival. In her dramaturgical work she is interested in more-than-human narratives in connection with the search for a dramaturgy for the Anthropocene.

The panel discussion “AI. Or the Future of the Arts?” with Theresa Schlesinger takes place on Thursday the 11 Nov 2021 from 8.30 to 9.15 pm.

Michellle Christensen © Florian Conradi

Michelle Christensen (DE)

is a sociologist and designer, exploring the spaces in between these realms. Her research, teaching and critical design practice speculates on feminist/queer, decolonial and sustainable approaches to design and free/open technology. Currently, she is teaching as a visiting professor for Open Science/Critical Culture at the Technische Universität Berlin/Einstein Center Digital Future, as well as heading a research group on Critical Maker Culture at the Berlin University of the Arts/Weizenbaum Institute together with Florian Conradi.

The panel discussion “AI. Or the Future of the Arts?” with Michelle Christensen takes place on Thursday 11 Nov 2021 from 8.30 to 9.15pm.


The implementation of the Anti-Dystopian Congress at gather takes place in cooperation with the agency playful solutions


This event takes place in cooperation with Bratislava Game Jam.

Game Jam © Radovan Dranga