2013-14 5_Utopiates

Brilliant, 100% Perfect Technological Solutions to Everything!

The Smart City seems to be what everyone is talking about, but nobody knows what it actually means, what it will look like, or if it is even remotely desirable. For all of the gee-wiz enthusiasm from technologists, urban planners, ‘hack-tivists’, and blue-chip corporations, there appears to be a lack of escape velocity to propel us from the habitual orbit of the familiar. Surely, the smart city will do more than flush our toilets and collect unprecedented amounts of data about every single little thing. Or will it?

We will look into what is being planned for the Smart Cities of the future. What are the interests and intentions of those plans? How are some proposing to counter, or foil, or offer alternatives to top-down ambitions? We will each identify something curious—or promising, or ominous, or overlooked—about these proposals and carefully research the approach and its attendant technologies. For the final project, each individual will collaborate with someone with different representational skills: for example, a skilled photographer may partner with an illustrator or entertainment designer, or an experienced graphic designer may collaborate with an architect. After studying the history of representing utopias and dystopias, each collaboration will envisage worlds—aspirations, or abominations, or both—where some of these “ideal solutions” are realized in their totalized, pure, hygienic, undiluted (perhaps monstrous) glory.

Faculty: Tim Durfee