* Utopias: Documents of Contemporary Art. Richard Noble

Utopia (/juːˈtpiə/) is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect sociopoliticolegal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas Morefor his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia.

The word comes from the Greek: οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and means “no place”. The English homophone eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ (“good” or “well”) and τόπος (“place”), means “good place”. This, due to the identical pronunciation of “utopia” and “eutopia”, gives rise to a double meaning.


Interestingly, I have just made the discovery/ had the realization, the word Utopia translated from Greek actually means ‘No Place’..  Fitting seeing as one of my main drives is concerned with Buddhism’s theory of Emptiness. .  Or Phonomenolgy.. etc..

Richard Noble: Introduction, The Utopian Impulse in Contemporary Art, Whitechapel Gallery  pg12;

“Utopia is a powerful trope in western culture. In its simplest form, it refers to a better place, a place in which the problems that beset our current condition are transcended or resolved. Yet it also means, or at any rate suggests through a pun on the ancient greek words for ‘No Place’, a place imagined but not realized, the ‘shining city on the hill’ that illuminated the limitations of the world in which we actually live, the telescope that allows us to grasp ‘the nearest nearness’. The utopian impulse or tendency is present in many of our foundational works of art, literature and philosophy. It has been central to most of the dominant political ideologies of modernity, and if Ernst Bloch is to be believed, is present in virtually every future orientated activity humans engage in, from the aura of hope surrounding the purchase of new clothes or planning a holiday, to the commitment to a better world implicit in medical research, constitution-writing and making art”.

In response to this passage of text I would like to make a point. In searching for the art of utopia, my instincts are to highlight that ‘imagined place’. That place that does not exist, and will never exist. I am aiming to highlight that place is the very world we live in now. The very place that has been labelled up as all manner of things none of which it actually is. Therefore, to me, utopia already exists. A point I have suggested before, and at this particular juncture, feel strongly about. I am not alone in this theory, of ‘no place’, and I do not believe I am alone in my particular perspective of it, Buddhism, Absurdism, Theodore Adorno, to name a few, all quote similar viens of thought.

I may also add, the name ‘general magnetic’ was derived from the very same sentiments quoted above in Richard Nobles text, with reference to Ernest Bloch’s quote; ” Utopian thinking is present in virtually every future-orientated activity humans engage in. A natural impulse to move, or be drawn forward into creative endeavour.


About generalmagnetic

Designer Maker / Technician 3D Design - Architecture
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