Of Place: Using Place and Space as Material for the Utopian-Alt

Stauffer Communication Arts B (STAUF-B) – B135, Media Lab

Saturday 28th, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Xavier Nokes (Arizona State University)

"Reality is just consensus" - James Turrell
Utopia is a fixation of various disciplines, many of whom perform exercises in visualizing and transcribing the enactment of utopia into reality. Analysis of these utopian visions presents a commonality amongst them; finality, or the belief that it is the end goal, the last step, perfection realized in totality. If truly utopian, it would be without fault and not necessitate alteration and truly be the last phase of societal growth. However, we can recognize that any form of "utopia" would be unobtainable, as it would necessitate equality be granted to "the alien". Growth is an inevitability, one that proves strikingly dangerous to authority or those seeking to serve as the predominant, if not singular, standard of society. Inertia is easy to maintain, and even easier to control, with the other/alien serving to indignify the controller. Communities who are designated as "other" are oppressed and regulated to the highest order In opposition, we instead propose a "utopian-alt"; in lieu of the consensus that has been maintained, we ask how we may be able to reformat reality. Rather than engaging with the concept of the future as one of totality, we will engage with utopia with the understanding of it as unobtainable and see how one might instead present a malleable abstraction for growth and constant change. Participants will engage with the place and space as tools for repurposing what is known and understood, integrating the perceived and known into new and alternative.