Utopia part II (research)

My initial direction in this Utopia project has been guided by the "You Say You Want a Revolution? (circa 1966-1970)" exhibition at the v&a which sparked off ideas of an Ecological, Free-love harmonious utopia inspired by surreal psychedelia style graphics and animations -as stated in my previous post. Despite walking out the museum on that first day of the brief, with strong ideas of a final outcome, I've decided to do broader research in a small range of contemporary perspectives of utopia as pictured above. This includes an extract from "Onomatopoeia" by Charles Avery (2010) , "Andsychrony: Generating Utopia" by Stefan Wagner (2013) "White Cube Bermondsey" by Raquib Shaw (2016) and finally "Utopian Bodies" by Nadine Goepfert (2013.)

Nadine Goepfert (2013)

"Utopian Bodies" by Nadine Goepfert specifically stood out to me as I know her textile designs-specifically the memory foam pullover- are being sported by Solange Knowles in her upcoming visual release "Cranes in the Sky" which from what I've seen has really amazing artistic direction with the likes of Carlota Guerrero (check out her photography here.) So I decided to look further into Goepfert and her adaptation of Utopia and found a project she did with fashion designer Lisa Haag called "Utoption" (extracts below)

Utopian description from Goepfert's website:

UTOPTION IS A COLLABORATIVE PROJECT WITH FASHION DESIGN STUDENT LISA HAAG. IT DEALS WITH SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY USE OF MATERIAL IN THE CONTEXT OF FAST- & SLOW FASHION. THE AIM OF THE PROJECT IS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE RELATION BETWEEN QUALITY AND FUNCTION OF CLOTHING WHILE RETHINKING CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR IN REGARD TO A NEW ECOLOGICAL CONSCIOUSNESS. BASED ON THIS WE DEVELOPED TWO ALMOST IDENTICAL COLLECTIONS WHICH DISTINGUISH ONLY IN THEIR MATERIALITY. IN THE ”SLOW“-COLLECTION WE FOCUSED ON THE USE OF HIGH QUALITY GARMENTS TO INSURE A CERTAIN DURABILITY. THE SECOND COLLECTION IS BASED AROUND FAST FASHION AND THE MENTALITY OF A DISPOSABLE SOCIETY. THEREFORE IT IS ENTIRELY MADE OF PAPER TO REVEAL THE EVER GROWING URGE FOR THE NEW. HERE “FAST FASHION” IS NOT AN OPTION BUT A MUST. BOTH COLLECTIONS DEAL WITH THE VALUE AND THE ACTUAL WORTH OF A GARMENT AND VISUALIZE TWO RADICALLY DIFFERENT WAYS OF DEALING WITH FASHION IN AN ECOLOGICAL WAY.UTOPTION IS A EXPERIMENT OF PERCEPTION THAT QUESTIONS SEEMINGLY NATURAL CONVENTIONS AND WANTS TO MOTIVATE TO A NEW AWARENESS OF ECOLOGY.„THE IDEA OF DESIGN AND THE PROFESSION OF THE DESIGNER HAVE TO BE TRANSFORMED FROM THE NOTION OF A SPECIALIST FUNCTION INTO A GENERALLY VALID ATTITUDE OF RESOURCEFULNESS AND INVENTIVENESS WHICH ALLOWS PROJECTS TO BE SEEN NOT IN ISOLATION BUT IN RELATIONSHIP WITH THE THE NEED OF THE INDIVIDUAL COMMUNITY.“ LÁSZLÓ MOHOLY-NAGY, 194

This inspired me to combine both my initial idea of a late 60's inspired psychedelic utopian graphics and Goepfert's minimalistic conceptual approach to the same theme. So now i've figured out my two main references. I am going to combine styles seen in "Utoption" and my other reference piece "Gandahar" (1988) by René Laloux -which I briefly talk upon in my last post fixating on the 60s graphics, and after watching again last night is a total must in style inspiration. Just to quickly recap if you're unfamiliar to what i'm banging on about, Gandahar is a 1988 animation inspired by 1960s sci-fi/science-fantasy. Directed by René Laloux who brilliantly directed "Fantastic Planet" back in the 60s (arguably one of the most iconic foreign science fiction animations of all time, referenced by many great artists and musicians.) Gandahar is based in this ecological utopia where nature and everyday life is wrapped up in one. All mechanisms seem to be biological life forms, everything breathes and makes little noises...then suddenly this army of mechanical robots come along and disrupt the equilibrium and a handsome bloke has to come along and save the day. Its very trippy and has an amazing use of colour and sound check out the opening scenes below:


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