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Manifesto - Eutopian Imaginings:

'Eutopia or positive Utopia: a non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as considerably better than the society in which that reader lived.'

Lyman Tower Sargent (1993)

"[jokey -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------quote]"

Amusing Author                     

"I would define utopia as food, water, shelter, clothing, healthcare and education for everybody on the planet, by whatever means gets us that, or the work towards that state."

Kim Stanley Robinson (2013)

"[Anarcho--------------------------------------------------------------------------------communist quote]."

Anarchist person (xxxx)

 

 

The question of eutopia‘s presence or absence within the arts is a thorny one.

 

  • In utopian scholarship arguments typically accept the absence of the eutopian art-form and focus instead on reading works for the utopian impulse, where the prescence of hope can be detected in even the darkest of cultural artifacts but the sociopolitical infrastructure of a society is never assumed to funtion eutopically..     

  • In political debate, centrists, conservatives and Marxists alike all condone the use of utopia, creating a blanket denial of its relevance to their respective fields..     

  • In academic art, the debate centres more on the problem of medium, where, despite a general trend towards left leaning critical theorists and thinking, mainstream practices such as movie making and story telling are considered generally suspect.

  • In film school the approach is more blinkered still, being structured around what does well at the box office and precedent - of which there are none for eutopian film.

 

These positions converge and intertwine to produce one result - an absence of the eutopian art-form. This lack is particularly apparent within mainstream pop culture, but is also the prevalent trend in the fringes (from where things typically manifest and gravitate towards the mainstream), where critique tends to be emlployed as a negative operation.

 

The absence of eutopia from mainstream popular culture can be felt in politics, where communism, socialism and leftism in general are all too easily bundled together as oppressive forms of state regulated totalitarianism and the left seem bereft of new ideas. The default ‘utopian state‘ of mainstream art-forms is anti-utopian (Suvin) in nature, eschewing the communist horizon of historical thought marked from the time of Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) and stretching onwards to the present moment, where capitalism and neoliberal politics are presented as the defacto, inescapable norm.

 

When utopia is employed to spice up this anti-utopian state of affairs, its only mode today is dystopian. Functioning as a critique of the status quo, dystopia without its eutopian opposite supports anti-utopian thinking and encourages a pull towards the everlasting neoliberal present.

 

But of course, given the effects of the man-made climate emergency we are currently facing, the present cannot continue in its current state forever. It must, inevitably change and our collective future is looking increasingly dystopic in real terms.

 

An Institute for eUtopia exists to challenge the above state of affairs. Its purpose is to provide a shared resource for collecting together strands of thought that can be employed to affect the collective imaginary. It is imagined as a meeting point for scholars, activists, artists and politicians (in the widest possible sense of the word) where different, more shared futures can be conceived, imagined and shared and encouraged to grow in polish towards mediums that are accessible to the maximum number of people possible. If this involves employing a love story here and a cynical conspiracy there (which it inevitably will – if it was good enough for Homer, it is good enough for us) then so be it.

 

As sea levels rise, tracts of the planet become uninhabitable and life as we know radically shifts, we desperately need a politics of belonging (Monbiot) that stretches from our knowledge of local ecology management and political engagement all the way through to our future science fiction imaginings of the totality of life on planet Earth and beyond, where the case is strongly made for the inclusion of all peoples, creatures and living things.

Editorial team

Editor

Elliot Parker

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HOPE Specialist

Matt Keller

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Dayna Hendricks

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