MightnMay by Love Enqvist - 16mm film

Diggers and Dreamers -Intentional communities in a new age, is a long-term project. It consist of photographs, lectures, sculptures, films, drawings and an artist book. 

Social documents from: Open City of Ritoque - Chile, Christiania - Denmark, Yamagishi Toyosato - Japan, Auroville - India, Järna - Sweden, Valley of the Dawn - Brazil, Eclectic City - Brazil, Tui - New Zealand, Riverside - New Zaeland, Slab City - USA, Findhorn - Scottland, Dornach - Switzerland, Damanhur - Italy, Arcosanti - USA

Diggers and Dreamers- Intentional Communities in a New Age, draw upon a myriad of utopian visions which are expressed through architecture, communities and personal reflections. What sets these intentional communities apart from other utopian dreams of a society, free from private property and from commercial exchange either of goods or of labor is that they survived into the present, seemingly against historical odds. The "social documents" gathered in the spiritual communities, eco-villages and communes found in Diggers and Dreamers could read these communities as counter sites or mirrors of an outside world. Or as urban laboratories where people who are dissatisfied with the gap between their ideas and the world have experimented with new communities and ways of living together and thus more quickly been able to see the result of their experiments. The common ground of these communities is mainly common ownership, decisionmaking, living and goals.Each community manifests a different mode of dissent, refusal, or withdrawal from capitalist rationality. Together they add up to a multifaceted portrait of a counter-modernity. The work is also trying to ask how we might recognize a phenomenon as seemingly untouchable or unrecoverable as New Age to be an important historical symptom of the post-68 moment.

The artist take interest in the dilemma of beeing situated between excluding and including: of compromising and of how dreams transforms to body and practise.
The work suggests moreover what might account for their longevity or persistence, is the failure to yet fully realize their grandiose visions. Now forty years have passed and we can learn from their experience.

Felicity D. Scott suggests: While Enqvist clearly remains fascinated by the dreams of anon-alienated life, symptoms of which are shown to have materialized in the intentional communities depicted, his revisiting of these acts of withdrawal from extant work ethics, normative lifestyles, and their functioning within capitalist modes of productivity should not be read simply as nostalgic, nor as claims to the ability of New Age lifestyles to bring about a more progressive or more ethically sound form of life. Rather, what is being divined from this strange archive is a type of knowledge regarding these utopian longings and how they derive from and attempt to counter dominant techniques of power, how they at once seek extrication from and remain fundamentally haunted by (while simultaneously troubling) capitalist structures which themselves come to seem distinctly fictional and constitutively riven with strange detours. Here we find that the everyday have taken on a fictional and magical quality.



The term "intentional community" was coined in the 1940s to function as a catch-all identity encompassing communities ranging from communes and ecovillages to separatist spiritual movements. Common to many of these communities are ideals of collective ownership, collective living, and consensus decision-making processes. In some cases the communities have a separate, internal economic system. Perhaps most important for these communities is the search for meaning and common values.

My work focuses on communities that exist today and that have created physical manifestations of their visions, especially through architecture. Many were founded between 1968 and 1975. They are to some extent grounded in modernism and they reflect the modern spiritual struggle for deeper meaning and higher consciousness – the so-called New Age. How have these places changed with a new generation of communards, and where are they going? Are they becoming museums or are they living urban laboratories?

Intentional communities mirror the outside world and questions our national and local identities, and they can function as a model of collectivity after the collapse of Ideology. Is there an archetypical utopian building, an architecture that can create and renew loyalties and that can affect the way we live together? This work attempts to show the explosive power and the many failures of the utopian project.

Who decides our future in the post-utopian, post-Ideological present? Idealism has shown both its positive and negative sides. People who are unhappy with the gaps between their ideas and their reality have always experimented with the development of new communities, both exclusive and inclusive. Despite short-lived projects and occasionally power-mad leaders, intentional communities continue to be places where individuals can test new ideas and where the results of their experiments can be quickly seen.

Love Enqvist 2009

Browsing through the book