Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Digital dystopias and the end of Utopias


Yesterday we had our last class. This year it was a kind of postscript in which we considered cyberutopias, which seem to become more dystopian with every passing year that this module runs (familiar, that?).

Many, many thanks to Tom and Brian for such a fantastic, almost-entirely-glitch-free, skype performance from Washington DC. It was very stimulating. Too much to take in and digest in one sitting. The whole discussion of cyberutopias and their dystopian potential is clearly becoming more complex with each passing year.

I, personally, was interested in how different their approach was from mine. They were much more focussed on politics (on the whole) than I have been - but then Brian summed it all up with his comments about Utopia as a 'process rather than a place'. That is indeed a very familiar theme throughout the module - and I think that although many of the utopias we have studied may have failed in some ways or seemed impossible in others (whether ethically, logically or in material practice) - as a process they were critical in sustaining creative new ideas for new futures. Perhaps to see the political potential of Utopia you have to live in it, it has to be in your own present and future and not in the past.

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