Utopian Thinking Workshop
Utopian Thinking Workshop challenges the present reality with imagination through deconstruction and reconstruction of local utopias, exposing hopes and fears, and identifying clues about the future.
Utopias represent hope through visions for a better world. Utopian thinking is an important part of cultural development in general and is especially necessary in the Israeli context. Utopian thinking liberates the imagination, challenges the existing reality and the systems that preserve it, and aids in nourishing new aspirations. The internal value of utopias is especially relevant at times of economic crises, environmental disasters, and violent socio-political climate – due to the unique opportunities they provide in creating alternative realities, that challenges existing status-quo.
Objective: Why Utopian Thinking Workshop?
Utopian Thinking workshop is a working method. The workshop brings together citizens, experts, leaders, creators, and others who are part of a local community – to discover together individual and collective aspirations for the future of their local environments and communities. Throughout the workshop they develop possibilities and practice rendering unknown futures. One of the main tools used in the workshop is the Utopia Machine – a multi-stage, flexible workshop process that can be implemented over time or as part of a one-time event.
Method: How Does Utopian Thinking Workshop Work?
Operating a utopia machine requires a diverse group of people – planners, policymakers, public representatives, as well as intellectuals, artists, and others who have an interest in the future of a place. At an early stage, a collection of future samples is assembled. These are markers in the present that may provide evidence of change towards the future of a particular environment. The markers are documented using photographs, physical samples, conversations with locals, etc. Later, the participants create a map of hopes and fears along with descriptions of situations from the future that relate to the samples and the markers they
collected. Next, they identify “turning points” – events that may lead to the realization of the hopes or the fears. The final stage points to utopias. This is done by describing aspirations for the ultimate living environment using:
1) Speculative samples from the future.
2) Verbal manifesto: focused statements describing the future living environment.
3) Graphic manifesto: images describing the future living environment.
Result: What are the Benefits of Utopian Thinking Workshop?
- Exposing local aspirations to initiate reality-changing actions.
- Formulating new intentions and paradigms for the local environment and their visual representation. Potentials and ideas for multidisciplinary and multi-scale action and opportunities for their realization.
- Discovering hopes and fears of local stakeholders.
- Discovering possibilities for turning points along the way toward new futures.
- Developing a discourse around future possibilities – public, political, pedagogic and professional.
- Expanding the boundaries of discussion, thinking, and creation to include more constituencies, disciplines, and viewpoints.
Representation of Outcomes:
- A catalog of utopian spaces proposed in the process. Each space will be clearly described and classified in order to enable repetition.
- Documentation of the utopia machine’s operation and its results.
- A possibility for updating, adding or altering old and new utopias.
- A sanctuary for storing and displaying local planning works that were discontinued due to their utopian characteristics.