De Buysser & Wren - An Athology of Optimism | Monty

Pieter De Buysser & Jacob Wren | An Anthology of Optimism

maandag 14 december 2009, 20:30

Met onderstaande brief probeerden Pieter De Buysser en Jacob Wren te achterhalen wat de mogelijkheden zijn voor kritisch optimisme in de 21ste eeuw, zowel op persoonlijk vlak als in het huidige socio-economische systeem. Ze richtten deze brief aan schrijvers, kunstenaars, denkers, wetenschappers, politici en zakenlui van over de hele wereld met de vraag hierop te reageren met een bijdrage in gelijk welke vorm: een foto, een object, een korte tekst, een muziekstuk, een tekening of schilderij, een film of video, of nog iets anders waar ze misschien zelf nog niet eens aan gedacht hadden.

Ghent/Brussels, January 2008

Dear Friend,

An Anthology of Optimism is a pre-emptive celebration of a critical optimism we tentatively hope will develop in the twenty-first century. If it exists already, such critical optimism has so far remained relatively marginal. However, with our anthology we hope to spur its further development and acceptance.
If we look around today, we might notice that pessimism is frequently the unspoken assumption: if you are a pessimist you seem consequent, if you are an optimist you seem naive. Of course the main reason for this generalized pessimism is because reality seems almost to demand it, because it speaks to the facts of the situation so directly. However, we believe a secondary reason is because there are so many misunderstandings about what optimism might mean: that it represents only naiveté or being in a good mood.
Critical optimism attempts to correct such misunderstandings because it seems evident to us that, no matter how bad things get, we still require some sort of optimism in order to keep going. The critical optimist doesn’t ask why we should keep going. For the time being, life remains an ongoing concern. The most immediate possibility is to develop an attitude with which we want to live and use this attitude to fuel our resistance.
Critical optimism is willing to look at the current situation with open eyes and rigorous analysis but is never willing to let this analysis fall into cynicism or be used as a pre-text to give up trying. It is an optimism that understands the degree to which we are all part of the problem, but nonetheless believes there is always something that can be done. No system is omnipotent or absolute and therefore there is always some room for improvement.
Critical optimism is never just hoping that you get what you want because, though the extent of the involvement of love in optimism cannot be measured, it is certain that one is never an optimist purely out of egoism. With our anthology, we intend to explore the full spectrum of possibilities for optimism: from our intimate personal relationships all the way to global political realities.

The purpose of this letter is to request a proposal from you. We would very much appreciate it if your proposal reflected a consequent, considered and personal contribution to the question of what optimism might mean in the twenty-first century. This proposal can be absolutely anything: a photograph, a piece of music, an object, a short text, a drawing or painting, a film or video, or perhaps something we haven’t even thought of yet.
We are sending this request to people we think can give a valuable contribution to this question from a variety of fields and points of view. We will use these proposals in a performance and website entitled An Anthology of Optimism.

We kindly thank you for taking the time to read this letter and very much hope you will lend a small amount of  time and wisdom to our undertaking.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you. For how to reach us, please turn over.

Yours sincerely,

Pieter de Buysser & Jacob Wren

van en met Pieter De Buysser en Jacob Wren
techniek Philippe Digneffe, Anne Meeussen
slides Mathilde Geens
productie Campo
coproductie Linze 2009 European capital of culture (A), Brut, Wien (A), Kunstenfestivaldesarts 09, Brussel, Camp X (DK)

De voorstelling in Monty wordt georganiseerd door De Vlaamse Opera, en maakt deel uit van het Opera+ programma rond de premiere van Leonard Bernsteins averechtse musical Candide, gebaseerd op Voltaires befaamde satirische Novelle “Candide, où l’optimisme”.