Unit 15 :: Utopias & Post-Scarcity :: Nic Clear / Mike Aling / Simon Withers

The question of knowing how one would live in a society that knows neither famine nor exploitation nor work, in a society in which, without exception, anyone could give free rein to her creativity — this troubling, fundamental question awakens in us the image of an environment radically different from any that has hitherto been known, from any that has been realized in the field of architecture or urbanism.

– Constant Nieuwenhuis: New Babylon: Outline of a Culture

 Today it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a more modest change in capitalism.

– Slavoj Zizek

We are in a moment of technological revolution where the machinic phylum is evolving, freeing the ‘ludic’ potential of the human race. One hundred years ago, architects were in the vanguard of imagining how the technologies of the industrial revolution might impact and transform our cities. Currently, the most interesting speculations involve a whole range of new technologies, from nanotech and synthetic biology to artificial intelligence and virtual reality. While others are industriously exploring these domains, architecture has been content to sit timidly on the sidelines. Despite it’s futuristic appearance, contemporary architecture has lost the desire to create a better society; it has at best contented itself with the goal of creating a slightly less worse society, for some. Architecture needs to regain its curiosity and begin to ask “what if…?” questions again.

Unit 15 will use film and animation to generate, develop and represent utopian architectural futures set in a world of abundance, located on Canvey Island in the Thames Estuary.


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