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A Fair Share of Utopia

Nest – space for contemporary art


A Fair Share of Utopia

Nest – space for contemporary art


Art / Literature / New titles



Graphic designer

Michiel Niesen | ZetProducties (book design), Soft Turbo (cover design)

Number of pages


Book size

15.6 x 22 cm



Date of Release: July 1, 2021


Edited by Manon Braat, Heske ten Cate, JLC Coburn, Eleonoor Jap Sam and Clara Ronsdorf. 

Editors Dutch publication: Manon Braat, Heske ten Cate, Lieneke Hulshof and Maurits de Bruijn. 

Translations: JLC Coburn, Manon Braat and Urgent Vertalen.

This publication was made possible through the support of BankGiro Loterij Fonds, Mondriaan Fund, Gemeente Den Haag and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

‘If you would die today and reincarnate one generation later, in what world would you want to be born, regardless of where or who you are?’ This is the question posed to eleven writers and ten visual artists of A Fair Share of Utopia to create new work from.

Can you put your own interests aside and really fight for a better world in the interest of future generations, or is it easier if you imagine yourself to be part of that unknown future? In her essay ”What if We’re All Coming Back?” in The New York Times of October 2018, human rights lawyer Michelle Alexander tries to imagine the world you would end up in if you were to reincarnate at a random place and under random circumstances.

Her essay is at basis of the exhibition. Out of this thought experiment, to imagine a fundamentally different, sustainable and more humane organization of society, the artists and writers speculate about an unknown future of which they themselves are part. The national and international writers and artists reflect on current global issues from different backgrounds and perspectives, and in doing so, present completely individual voices.

Now the publication is translated into English and includes a newly contributed epilogue by the renowned author Jean Kwok and looks at the essays. How do we read them now a year after they were written and a time so different than in the midst of the pandemic? At the same time, she tries to formulate her own answer to Alexander’s question. From her Chinese Buddhist background, which ensured that she was raised with a belief in a multitude of gods and goddesses, and from her experience as a migrant who made her home on another continent twice in her life, Kwok’s utopia is a place of radical equality, of humans and all non-human life.

With essays by: Michelle Alexander, René ten Bos, Dean Bowen, Sander Donkers, Clarice Gargard, Jean Kwok, Sisonke Msimang, Rashid Novaire, Vamba Sherif, Jan van de Venis and Louwrien Wijers.

Artist contributions from: Brook Andrew, Raul Balai, Ghana ThinkTank & AiRich, Claudia Martínez Garay, Femke Herregraven, Nástio Mosquito, Simphiwe Ndzube, Marianne Nicolson and Müge Yilmaz.
This book was first published in Dutch (Wat Niet Is Maar Kan Zijn, uitgeverij Jurgen Maas) accompanying the exhibition A Fair Share of Utopia curated by Manon Braat, that took place at Nest, The Hague and CBK Zuidoost, Amsterdam in 2020.