Beyond Utopia, 2012
Beyond Utopia takes the form of a screenplay for a film never intended to be made. The screenplay restages the process and exchanges of a project that queries the function of utopian thinking in urban development and spatial culture. The project, initiated by the collaborative practice of Sophie Warren and Jonathan Mosley with writer Robin Wilson aimed to establish a critical dialogue with institutions of city design and to find new sites of productive tension between the “real” and the “fictional”. Submitting a utopian architectural proposal for a real site in London to the scrutiny of the institutions that dominate the design and programming of city space, the project enacted a form of playful provocation, drifting in and though the procedures, systems and languages of planning, architecture and city development. As a fiction, the utopian work gained life as it was recounted and discussed, its narrative shared, activated and engaged through dialogue with and by officials and reviewers.
Elaborating on the aims of this project, the screenplay provokes speculation, proposition and play in the idea of “something missing” in the production of city space and urban relations. Writers and artists from various fields have been invited to respond to the concepts raised in the screenplay and establish new grounds for speculation as to how to play utopia. The contributions juxtapose a series of discursive and visual systems that construct, conflate and collapse ideas on utopian thinking. Beyond Utopia presents the reader with a collage of reality. Created as a holding place for multiple subjective and discursive narratives and positions, it is as much defined by the gaps exposed between the works as the points of their intersection, overlapping and contingent relation. Beyond Utopia foregrounds and tests the limits of our present urban condition to reveal a state of continuing difference.