Joeri Verbesselt: Dystopian Optimism. Countering precariousness as the condition of our time.

Doctoral Project

Joeri Verbesselt, PhD in the Arts

Our imagination about the future suffers from an impasse between technological optimism and dystopian visions of the end of humankind. This PhD in the arts introduces the concept of 'DystopianOptimism' to counter the predominant premise that globally interconnected precariousness is the condition of our time. It recognizes dystopia as a societal reality and proposes to complement it with optimism: a fiction that enables one to project a different future on oneself or the world. Embedded in the fields of contemporary audiovisual arts and art history, Dystopian Optimism functions as a compass to navigate a map of infinite imaginaries around ecological issues.

Aside of a dissertation disclosing this concept and an iconology, this artistic research consists of a continuous videographic journal that results in a series of short experimental films.


  • Prof. dr. Hilde Van Gelder (Supervisor, KU Leuven)
  • Prof.dr. Wendy Morris (Supervisor, LUCA)

Research Unit: Intermedia

Duration: 2019-2023