Lab Manifesto

The world is mad and unrelentingly unstable. Perfect times for utopian ideas. The future inspires our current reality as much as our actions determine its realization. What future do we want? What future do we deserve? What can we do to get there?

A Lab of Utopian Suspicion is a self-organized, open-ended, transdisciplinary space of collaboration, where questions like these are asked and discussed. A lab spawns an abundance of formats, group discussions & thematic constellations that are established, demolished, reinvented or expanded on a day to day basis.

A Lab of Utopian Suspicion is a one week format, where participants commit themselves to being fully involved without knowing what they are being offered. It is a commitment to idle time.

A Lab of Utopian Suspicion is a conscious hiatus from everyday life. It offers a space where participants can take a step aside and reflect on current societal, political and economic developments. During the Lab, social expectations of efficiency, competition and the pressure to be creative and produce output are suspended.

A Lab of Utopian Suspicion faces the future with critical naivety and the courage to self-organize. There is a structured lack of structure: empty days full of possibilities. The main topics and the methodological approaches follow from individual and collective priorities. Everything can happen, nothing must.

A Lab of Utopian Suspicion has the following expectations:

I Self-Selection and Inclusion

There is no selection process of the participants according to any criteria. There are no extrinsic incentives for participation. All attendees share a culture of inclusion that respects the needs of others.

II Self-Organisation

A lab and its contents are not curated or structured. Only the first day is moderated. Afterwards the hosts and organisation team become lab participants. There’s trust in self-organization. There are no fallback plans, workshop slots, keynote speakers or anything the like. The contents emerge on the spot, according to what individuals and the collective deem urgent.

III Time and Space

The location, shared meals, a daily plenary session and a space accessible to all participants form the structural framework of the lab.

IV Diskurs

Expectations of efficiency, output, competition and creativity are suspended. The lab is not a pursuit for the best idea or the most creative contribution – there are no winners. Collective discourse in an end, not a means. There’s a deep commitment to create a radically open and respectful culture of discourse.

V Openness and Empathy

All formats of the laboratory are open by default. Removing oneself from a group is not an act of judgement. As a collective and as individuals, participants consider others needs and treat one another with benevolence and respect.

VI No output

The purpose of a laboratory lies in the process, not the output. Whatever is created in the lab may continue afterwards, but there’s no expectation that it will. The lab purposefully offers wasteful space in which collaborative, utopian and transdisciplinarity thinking is possible.

VII Self-Determination

Participants are free to spend their time however they like. There is no pressure to perform. Formats may take place in parallel. The lab celebrates JOMO – “joy of missing out”.

VIII The Beginning

The first day – which is moderated by the hosts – serves to create a framework for the labs’ self-organization. It has three main goals: First, everyone has some meaningful contact with everyone else. Second, participants reach a consensus on how they want to live together. Third, ideas, themes and priorities of participants are expressed and collected.