what does your utopia look like?
Given recent world events and our depressing news feeds, it's the perfect moment to imagine a better place. Begin with Paths to Utopia: a collection of new artworks from collaborations between artists, performers, architects and technologists,
It feels like a long time ago that Somerset House announced UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Thomas More's radical text Utopia. Since then we've lost Prince and Muhammad Ali, Harper Lee and Victoria Wood, seen Britain vote to leave the European Union, Donald Trump rise to become the presumptive Republican presidential candidate and North Korea launch a long-range rocket into space. Oh, and England crashed out of the European Championship causing the country's most embarrassing moment since, well, last Friday. High-time to imagine a better place then, beginning with Paths to Utopia: a collection of new artworks from collaborations between artists, performers, architects and technologists opening today at King's College, London.
Featuring works by Le Gun Collective, author Philip Hoare and artist Caitlin Shepherd among others, Paths to Utopia is being billed as a sort of "cultural hub" - a diverse mix of films, installations, talks and research that allows audiences to question what, exactly, Utopia means today. Is it a social space or somewhere just for you? Is it entirely imagined or a response to the societal issues of 2016? (And let's face it, with the current state of world politics, there are quite a few).
Luckily, there's a little while to figure it all out, the exhibition running for three months at King's College London's Strand Campus, with a series of talks on how we can all become a little more Utopian taking place there throughout the summer.
"Utopia is a vast landscape to cover," says Andy Franzkowiak, creative producer of the exhibition. "It has been attempted thousands of times via fact and fiction and, though coined by Thomas more 500 years ago, cultures have been fascinated by the idea for millennia.
"We hope that visitors will add their own ideas, discover their own paths and find moments of Utopia in their own eventful journeys."
Text Matthew Whitehouse
Photography Bruce Atherton