Utopia

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A utopia refers to an imagined, perfect society, a concept that exists in religions and cultures throughout the world, from the Christian heaven to the Tibetan earthly paradise, Shangri-La. The word “utopia” derives from Thomas Moore's fictional account, in 1516, of an idealized island community of the same name. Artists and architects have since attempted to employ urban planning and the arts to visualize or create livable utopias. Le Corbusier, for example, envisioned a new type of urbanism, one in which living and working took place in separate spheres, and modern highways replaced the dark, crowded slums of the old European city. “Modernity was the time of desire for utopia,” the philosopher Boris Groys has said, and indeed many consider modern architecture and urban planning of the 20th century to have failed the pressing societal issues of the day. Contemporary artists often examine past utopian ideologies critically, such as David Maljkovic or Mark Titchner, while others attempt to create ideal communities in the here-and-now through performance or socially engaged work.

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