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Humanity is going through turbulent and uncertain times. We were just beginning to normalise a pandemic, when Europe became the scene of a war that is rapidly escalating internationally, evoking the nuclear conflict and the bloc politics of the Cold War. The spirit of the moment confronts us, with the force of viruses, bombs and energy shortages, with the vulnerability of the human species, the eco-dependencies that condition us and the fragility of our socio-technical artefacts.

The present time reveals how the systems of provision of necessities of industrial civilisation have been configured on the basis of an extractivist model that has been breaking down the barrier of biodiversity and has generated a whole global network of relationships of dependence, subordination and power. War capitalism, conflicts over resources and energy, the resurgence of totalitarianism and the increase in inequalities are causing us to wake up abruptly from the denialist dream of abundance. And then we realise that we are at a crossroads: we can continue along the same track, in the same direction, confident that more and stronger and faster will always be better, or we can go back through the galleries of history in search of spaces, relationships and practices that prefigure a mosaic of other futures.

The 39th edition of the Universitat d'Estiu de Gandia (Summer University of Gandia) sets out the challenge of imagining the present as a growth of paths that can lead to improvised collapse or to the conscious construction of societies based on other parameters. The path we choose in this bifurcation of trajectories that is the present will determine the colours of the future.


Carme Melo

Director of the 39th Universitat d’Estiu de Gandia