UTOPIA & NATURE
Based on H.D. Thoreau's “Walden

EXPERIMENTATION AND RESEARCH IN CONTEMPORARY
ARTISTIC
PRACTICES



Utopia as an expression of unlimited imagination and desire is a concept that has always fascinated artists. Art can see in utopia a means to lift the restrictions of reality and accomplish the free expression of its visions. Starting from this connection and its various instantiations in the history of art, this workshop deals with the multiple significations, implications and dimensions of utopia. In everyday discourse the term ‘utopia’ is usually connected with an ideal future, with what seems impossible within the confines of reality, and is thus bound to create margins for many and often contradictory interpretations. Utopias are the places of dreams and hopes for a better life, which provide an escape from an always incomplete and constraining status quo. Sometimes they involve grandiose metaphysical schemata, other times they take the form of ephemeral shelters distanced from detailed sociopolitical reflection. Always, however, their creation is based on the criticism of established (political and aesthetical) institutions and social structures. Inspiring antithetical political and artistic practices, praised but also criticized, utopia has been a focus of debate for many disciplines and approaches. By blending theoretical discussion, aesthetic reflection and the artistic work of the participants, this workshop aims at critically exploring the various interconnections between theory and praxis, vision and reality, desire and finitude, utopia and dystopia.
In this workshop we will research methods and tactics and we will ask from the students to collect material or to archive material that they already have and reconsider it, to think alternative ways of presentation of materials, ways of incorporation of them in their pictorial language. The aim of the workshop is to exhibit the results of this research, the ideas or the work that will come out of it.

This year’s workshop investigates the relationship between contemporary artistic practices and the natural environment. Art is often seen and spoken in terms of being environmental, critical and subversive. For the past decades, the natural environment has seen radical changes and has been at the forefront of many contemporary art projects. What is the relationship between art and nature? During the workshop, we will consider different ideas in contemporary art making and theory to examine from varying perspectives the question of art and nature.


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ASFA (Athens School of Fine Arts)

Organizers-Facilitators: Vassilis Vlastaras, artist, Lecturer, Athens School of Fine Arts and Maria Glyka, visual artist, teacher BA & MA Vakalo college of Art and Design.

ASFA annex
Evligia Hill, Rethymno

Basic timetable:
4 July: arrivals
5 July – 7 July: artists presentations
8 - 20 July: preparation of the work
21-23 July: show and presentations of final works
24 July: end of show – departures

Number of participants: 11

In collaboration with:
Mr. Gary Woodley, artist and lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
Mr. Klaas Hoek, artist, head of the postgraduate department of University of Utrecht and head of the printmaking of the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

Guests Professors and artists:

Mrs Caroline de Lannoy , artist and lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, Byam Shaw School of Art, Central St Martins College of Art - University of the Arts London, and West Dean College.
Mr. Jim Hobs, visual artist.
Dr.Yannis Stavrakakis, associate Professor of Political Sciences of the Aristotle University of Thessalonica,
Dr. Fay Zika, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Theory of Art Department of Theory and History of Art The Athens School of Fine Arts
Mrs. Katerina Gouziouli, art theorist.


origin of the term

Utopia
(from Greek: οὐ, "not", and τόπος, "place" as well as εὖ, "good" or "well", and τόπος ["good place"]—the double meaning was probably intended) is a fictional island near the coast of the Atlantic Ocean written about by Sir Thomas More as the fictional character Raphael Hythloday (translated from the Greek as "knowing in trifles") recounts his experiences in his travels to the deliciously fictional island with a perfect social, legal, and political system.
The name has come to mean, in popular parlance, an ideal society. As such, it has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempted to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. The term is sometimes used pejoratively, in reference to an unrealistic ideal that is impossible to realize, and has spawned other concepts, most prominently "dystopia".




Thomas More, "The Utopia", (publication 1516).
This book constituted the primary source for the investigation of definition of utopia, its study was found essential as More’s ideas influenced very deeply all the later utopian thought.







Thomas More, Utopia: Latin Text and English Translation
Cambridge University Press

only Latin Text
Thomas More
 Utopia from Wikipedia

Utopia by Saint Sir Thomas More
Project Gutenberg

Free audio recording at LibriVox










Plato, “The Republic”, (380 b.c.).
Is a philosophical dialogue about the nature of justice and the order and character of the just City-State and the just individual. The dialogues, among Socrates and various Athenians and foreigners, discuss the meaning of justice, and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man, by proposing a society ruled by philosopher-kings and the guardians

The Republic (Plato), from Wikipedia
The Republic Translated in English by Benjamin Jowett
Plato's Ethics and Politics in The Republic, Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy
The Republic Translated in contemporary Greek
The Republic in AncientGreek










Francis Bacon, “New Atlantis”, (publication 1624).
In this work, Bacon portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge, expressing his aspirations and ideals for humankind. The novel depicts the creation of a utopian land where "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit" are the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of "Bensalem". The plan and organization of his ideal college, "Salomon's House" envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure sciences.

Latin version of New Atlantis

Project Gutenberg Presents The New Atlantis

The New Atlantis from Wikipedia









Henry Neville, “The Isle of Pines”, (publication 1668).
The book explores the fictional adventures of George Pine and four fellow female survivors who are shipwrecked on an idyllic island. Pine finds that the island produces food abundantly with little or no effort, and he soon enjoys a leisurely existence, engaging in open sexual activity with the four women.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Isle Of Pines (1668), by Henry Neville

The Isle of Pines from Wikipedia





UTOPIANS 2010

UTOPIANS 2010
michalis, aglae
giannis, anna, andreas, klaas
natalia, maria, alkistis, Kristbjorg
fanis, garry, fay, giannis
maria, panagiotis, ryan, katerina
giannis, bryan, caroline, giorgos
victor, vassilis, jim, julia