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The Collective Alice, or, on Fear, Death, Multitudes, and Pain

Editors’ Note:

At the end of this turbulent year, we have translated and edited the manifesto-essay by Iskra Geshoska, a Macedonian scholar and political philosophy theorist, for this month's “e-flux in Chinese Column.” Taking the well-known story of “Alice in Wonderland” as the starting point, Geshoska terms the "labyrinth with no way out" as a metaphor for the confrontational relationship between an increasingly self-serving and individualized neoliberal system and the declining collective community. Facing the difficulties of contemporary social life and productions, Geshoska’s challenging yet unapologetic text calls upon us to re-examine and learn a lesson from the crucial thoughts behind Democratic Socialism, in order to seek possible resolutions for our dilemma. ​She sharply unpacks the “fear of our own impermanence,” points out that we must “have institutions (including educational institutions and modes of political thinking) that enable individuals to lead their lives in full recognition of their dependence on others and on collective projects,” and advocates “an institution of freedom” which allows itself to be criticized and even rejected. For authors, artists, and creators in all types of forms, it is our duty to “remain a creative, authorial, and conceptual step ahead of the tyrant,” as we are currently inhabiting “the very core of several overlapping tyrannies (capitalist, ecological, climate, populist).” May our dear readers find as much strength as we do in this essay.

This is part of e-flux in Chinese Column, a collaboration between Heichi Magazine and e-flux journal, with curator and writer Xiaoyu Weng as the column’s guest-editor.

The Collective Alice, or, on Fear, Death, Multitudes, and Pain from e-flux journal #119—June 2021, read the original article here. Translated by Shao Jie, co-edited by Xiaoyu Weng and Qianfan Gu.

Iskra Geshoska is a cultural worker and writer, with a main focus on critical theory, political philosophy, and developing new interdisciplinary models in contemporary art and cultural practices. She is a founder of Kontrapunkt and CRIC, a platform for critical culture (

Alice in Wonderland ride, Disneyland, 1996. Photo: Ellen Levy Finch. CC BY-NC-SA/Wikimedia Commons. 

Robert Wilson, Hamletmachine, Kunsthalle, 1986, Hamburg. Photo: Friedemann Simon. 

Stanisław Lem Garden of Experiences, Czyżyny, Kraków, Poland. Photo: CC BY 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Published: 2021.12.09