Here is a small excerpt from David Bells Blog (University of Nottingham). David is studying at PHD level and has entitled his blog Nomadic Utopianism ‘fail again, fail better’ . This title alone hints we may share common viewpoints. We shall see.
I rather like the implications David is making and it certainly resonates with my philosophy of utopia to date. I especially like the idea here of the ‘imaginal machines’.. see picture below..
Art’s Heuristic Function: Unpicking Dystopia
Yet we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss all artistic representations of utopia (not sure I’d want to salvage Kinkade, mind). Should they really be taken as to be blueprints or representations of perfection? Can they not be read instead as heuristic suggestions that the world could be otherwise: hints at a future whose power lies not in the specificity of their visions but in the fact that they have a vision? Lyman Tower Sargent, Darko Suvin and Tom Moylan and others have made this point about utopian literature (and Ruth Levitas about utopia more broadly), and at Arken Stephen Duncombe made a similar point- arguing that More’s Utopia (and works of utopian art) function as ‘imaginal machines’ (a term taken from Steven Shukaitis) which prevent us from ‘returning safely to our own place’. He offered Rob Walker’s Hypothetical Development Organisation and the fake building site notices of Steve Lambert as exemplars. By proposing to build ‘utopian’ structures in the present, their work unsettles our sense of what is normal and- perhaps- of what is possible.