La gran experiencia: la comuna de Otto Muehl en La Gomera

La gran experiencia: la comuna de Otto Muehl en La Gomera, Concreta, Valencia, 2018.

Author: Ralph Kistler

Introduction: José Díaz Cuyás and Ralph Kistler

In 1970 Otto Muehl, artist of the school of Viennese Actionism, founded a commune with the intention of merging art and life. The project grew exceptionally well, with over five hundred members, becoming one of the largest counter-cultural communities in 20th century Europe. At the beginning of the 1980's, the group eased up on its social-revolutionary ideology and moved from an economy based on rural collectivism to investments in financial speculation. This program of work and high profitability contradicted the hedonistic and collectivist principles on which the commune had been founded. In an attempt to recover the initial spirit they decided to invest in a new headquarters dedicated to artistic and leisure activities that was integrated into nature. So in 1987 they acquired a large, isolated and abandoned farm which at the time was one of the main farms on La Gomera: El Cabrito. The enclave that the commune had chosen as its vacation center has become today, after the commune dissolved in 1990, a tourist resort. The Canarian period of the commune constitutes the final scenario where those emancipatory utopias of the sixties, fed by the great myths of modernity, were surpassed by their own internal contradictions to end up, in an apparently seamless and natural process, as a typical utopian tourist trap.