Dealing both with museums and modernist utopias means to address failures (of history). Nowadays from one side the museums express the crisis of institutional reason, and from the other side the culture is working in the dismantlement of modernist narratives. Starting from these premises, what does a model mean? And which kind of world-making strategy to adopt in relation to models, utopias and museums? What is the power of the museum we speak of ? Instead of perpetuating a universalistic way we need to be very specific. So, what can we learn from Eisenhüttenstadt ? Can the model of the planned city, in terms of public interest, education, justice or social progress, be fruitfully related to the museum? Or what we can learn from similar attempts? In this regard e in relation to Eisenhüttenstadt, I will take in account three cases studies:

    -    Charleroi and its museum BPS22 (Belgium)
    -    The utopian model of Ivrea by Adriano Olivetti  (Italy)
    -    The Projet Phalanstère by Charles Fourier (France)

I will adopt an hauntology (instead of ontology) methodology based on imagination and confabulation in the entanglement between museology and curatorial practice. The proposal for the symposium will be a speculative text grounded on history with the aim not to build utopias but to address to and with the ghosts. In order to project the future yet to come— in a haunted city as in a haunted society. 

Sonia D‘Alto is a researcher, writer and curator. She is currently a PhD student at the HFBK in Hamburg. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Adolfo Pini Foundation in Milan, where, as part of the „Casa dei Saperi“, she has curated the biennial programme Nuove Utopie. She has organised editorial and curatorial projects between Italy and France, collaborating with institutions, project spaces and artistic residencies. She has published critical essays for Mousse, Critique d‘Art, Not (Nero edition), Artribune.

Her curatorial activity is an attempt to escape the conventional distinctions between history, poetry and politics, using a historical-artistic-speculative methodology. More specifically, her research is oriented towards performance languages, the contradictions of artistic capitalism, the history of exhibitions, the moving image, feminist thought and multi-naturalism.


Avery F. Gordon, Ghostly Matters, Haunting and the Social Imagination, Minnesota Press, 2008
Federico Campagna, Technic and Magic, The Reconstruction of Reality, Bloomsbury, 2018
Jacques Derrida, Spectres of Marx, Routdledge, London/New York, 1994
Reinhold Martin, Utopia’s Ghost: Architecture and Postmodernism, Again, Minnesota Press, 2010
Pierre Bal Blanc, Projet Phalanstère
Franco Ferrarotti, La società e L’Utopia, Donzelli Editore, Rome, 2008