Ulrich Gehmann, Michael Johansson & Andi Siess | Ideal spaces
Ulrich Gehmann, Michael Johansson & Andi Siess | ISWG
An ideal space is both a space imagined and a space “ideal” in the words common use, denoting a space perfected. In that latter meaning, an ideal space is an absolute model of how space should be. In this sense, it is also a utopian space.
Ideal spaces are not only about architecture but about social dreaming and imagination, expressed in ‘ideal’ spaces with their impacts on architecture, art, and human hopes. We tried to show this via a combination of presenting ideal city spaces, active participation of the visitors molding their own spaces, and symbolic representation. Ideal Spaces is also a high-tech project that uses diverse technologies in new ways, also new techniques and programming developed by us. The exhibition deals with ideal spaces in a double sense: as spaces imagined and as spaces utopian, or perfected. In both its meanings of being ‘ideal’, an ideal space relates to utopian space, an old theme deeply embedded in our cultural memory which has never lost its actuality and appeal. Since it is a mythic theme full of hopes and dreams, and at the same time, very practical. With a look at recent conditions, we need to re-address it more than ever.
Today, the majority of human beings live in urban agglomerations which are far away from being ’ideal’ but chaotic, accompanied by an actual destruction of space unprecedented in history. In parallel, never before so many technical possibilities of imagining spaces existed, allowing for escape into worlds of fantasy, dream, and game. Space is lost, and at the same time multiplied.
But human beings need space, also real ones deserving the name, and they need community. Issues which have to be settled, urgently. One first step in doing so may consist in re-framing them, to look at them anew, from different but nevertheless related perspectives.
We did so by taking the theme’s archaic character as a background tale, the myth of a paradise lost and to be regained again, and by actively involving the visitors. Today, the question arises of what an ideal space actually is, or could be. The epitomized place for an ideal space is that of the ideal city, also one of the formers’ favorized topoi in symbolic terms. The ideal city relates to utopia, the eu-topia as a place of redemption and liberation in form of a second, and artificial paradise.
2 Ideal Spaces and/or Utopian spaces
What is “ideal” in the space? The very term ideal relates to the Greek words idea and eidos, to have an ‘idea’ or an inner image of something; in case of eidos, also one which can become very concrete, and which may serve as a pattern or type – e.g. for constructing an ideal city acc. to a clear and pre-given “inner” image. And as already mentioned in the beginning, ideal also stands for something perfected or ‘ideal’ in the common sense of the term: something which is an end state (‘perfect’), in other words. Looking at these two meanings of what ideal denotes, it is of decisive importance when both these meanings coincide or overlap: when a city shall be constructed as an ideal space, covering both these meanings – even in cases where its constructors have literally ‘no idea’ what they actually are doing. That is, when they are not decisively and explicitly reaching for utopia but nevertheless built utopian spaces, in fact, by generating a spatiality of the “non-place” addressed by critics as Marc Augé and others (e.g.,): a type of placeless spatiality generating real physical but essentially placeless (‘ou-topian’) spaces on the historical remnants of which we all live.
In these cases, the imagery about an ideal space must not always, and not explicitly be utopian. Since in the original meaning of an ideal, an ideal space does not only denote a space perfected, something that has to be achieved as an optimized final state; but also a space which has been conceptualized at all: an inner image, an idea about a space as it shall look like, pouring into plans, concepts, and other concretized imaginations about spatial design; as in city planning, layout of logistic networks, buildings, the construction of spaces for the public, and the like. These are examples which demonstrate that the notion of an ideal space does also include quite practical constructions needed for the purposes of daily life in its concrete terms.
But let’s return to the epitome of an ideal space (at least in the occidental realm), the one of an ‘ideal’ city. Concepts about an ideal city rely upon the idea of an ideal space constructed, to provide both base and frame for a proper unfolding of the human condition, for an ideal conditio humana. According to our cultural imagery, the proper and genuine place for humans as “cultural animals” (McLuhan) is the city, from the start of human civilization onwards. Thus, a city has to be erected which is ideal, constructed in such a way that the spatial conditions for that animal shall propagate the advent of the ‘positive’ traits of a general human nature; or, expressed in mythological terms: after the first, natural paradise being lost, a second one has to be created, a paradise regained by construction. As an environment and a frame of living, these new paradises shall become man’s second nature to overcome the shortfalls of existing urban environments.
For the first time in human history, the major part of humanity lives inside the frames and conditions of such environments; and judging from such a background, the topic of an “ideal” city becomes actual more than ever. There exist two major distinctions as regards the notion of an ideal city. In a classical ‘old’ understanding, an ideal city, as a term, refers to the search of urban theorists and others for a reconstruction of or reaching for the utopian Garden of Eden, for the creation of an ideal place in the metaphysical or religious sense of heaven on earth. The other meaning is an ‘ideal’ city in the sense of making the best out of the actually available resources, circumstances, and geography, centering on the topics (and goals) of sustainability and of harmony with nature and culture. These distinctions, we have to add, can be understood as directions of meaning as well, to conceive the topic of an ideal space in general.
If we include its secularized variants, the interpretation of an ideal place refers to the utopian direction of meaning; the other, second direction of meaning is more pragmatic: it does not have to be the absolutely perfect end state but ‘ideal’ only in the sense of making the best out of the existing situation, the conditions which actually prevail. As does any other way of how to handle things in general and how to cope with reality, it presupposes a certain mindset – out of which things are handled in that way and no other, what is conceived as relevant, and so forth. And this finally depends on ideals, on inner images as mental guidelines for how to tackle things in general – in their sum, the ‘world’ – and for which purposes. So, even the most pragmatic mind cannot avoid ideals. If physics symbolically stands for the barely present, for that what is (also physically) in the moment, then we cannot avoid metaphysics. ‘Best’ solutions in this sense do not depend on physics, but on ideas, ideals: on inner images.
So, all in all, ideal space and meta- physics seem to belong together; in particular when we speak about the future, and here about a future desired, a state of being which is not present yet, but which shall become present. Moreover, those spaces do not just express some architectural constructions; they are symbolic spaces, spaces which are “standing for” additional meanings behind them, meanings which elicited their construction at all. These spaces shall, of course, become real physical spaces then. This addresses once more the aspect of imagination, and the symbolic aspect of these spaces: we, the spectators of their images presented, have to conceive them as real spaces, as parts of an ‘as if- world´ that can turn into reality. This is, at the same time, a particular mode of experience: we have to look at those spatial images as if experiencing a real world, and we can compare these experiences with those we made in our real spaces we are living in.
Seven snapshots of Ideal spaces
The reign of ideal spaces we put forward in our snapshots originally created in the exhibition Ideal spaces for the 2016 architectural biennale in Venice.
It starts with the Gothic cathedral. We took the example of Reims, since it represents one of the most elaborated and acclaimed cathedrals. As an architectural type, the cathedral is more than just a church or any other sacred building serving as a place for the holy. This it is, too, but it is not confined to that dimension of meaning. It also has others, and therefore, by being a specific kind of an ideal space, it is the very base of all the other ideal spaces to come, in a symbolic and a historical dimension.
The cathedral stands at the beginning since it reflects our general background tale to be narrated in our sequence of worlds, the one of a paradise regained, in an almost perfect, and first and foremost original way: it is the symbol for regaining paradise, in both a historical and symbolical dimension. Although it markedly differs from them, it can be seen as the archetype of all those other spaces to come. Since for our general topic inside the terms of which our general tale is to be told, that of an ideal space, it resembles the very aim of constructing such spaces: to overcome history ‘as it is’, in search for a better, and final one – the one of a paradise regained at the end of all days. Provided that ideal spaces can be considered as relying on the idea of a utopia, literally, of a place for human beings that is an ou-topos, a non-place in terms of the now-existing real, then the very aim of creating such ideal spaces by construction is to generate exactly such a utopia, in the shape of a eu-topian, or “good” place: A place for humans being ideal in the double sense of a place being imagined (eidos, idea), and of one that is ‘ideal’ in the words’ common meaning, denoting a perfect place to live; or a perfected one, respectively, namely one to be achieved by construction, by acts of deliberate planning and making. It shall be a space that is perfectly suited for an assumed (positive) human condition, and one that can be made: that is constructed, i.e. created, and not just pre-given. Opposed to the original paradise from which humans had departed, and opposed to the new Christian paradise at the end of all days, that is, at the end of a history that has been so far, after the human kind had left his original paradisiacal state –which, too, is a paradise pre-given, made by God, not by man. Following the paradise myth, we may admire nature, but it is not our space. Ours is the one of a second nature, to address another mythological figure. And in its ideal terms, it is achieved by means of rational construction, as an ideal world that has been built, not grown; neither by nature, nor by history, that other ‘nature’ of man. What begun in the system space of the cathedral was prolonged, for creating ideal spaces, also in social terms that had to follow predefined functionalities, and geometries. The leading idea became to create an ideal space more geometrico, as an abstraction, and that such an abstraction should provide the real place for real human beings to live: as a real place for a real, and new humanity to unfold.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Functional City
His concept for a city, says Vercelloni, is not the city of just an imaginary future, but of a future that really could happen: in one word, the true ideal city, as he says. Opposed to the majority of conceptions for ideal cities in that epoch – and that epoch was rich in such conceptions, probably more than any other one before a 19th century to come – it is a city concept that really could work, in very practical terms. In comparison to the mostly visionary approaches of his contemporaries, so Vercelloni, Leonardo’s sketches (despite being sketches only) are masterpieces in city planning, an “urban abstraction of the city”, presented by a regular grid. And out of this, it is concretely imaginable in its structure –a structure that may change a city’s economics and way of life, and to do so entirely.
If the Gothic cathedral was an already ‘modern’ construction in terms of methods applied and use of concepts based on formats, then Leonardo’s plan refines such a trait. His city, so Vercelloni, is a real city, one perfected through inventiveness, technique, and art. When we look at his ideal city, it is not so much about its concrete topic, in his case to embody a water city, a city where canals play a central role, an urban organism depending, in its very functioning, on the use and proper distribution of water. It is rather about the consequent functional logic of how this city is structured as such. How it is organized at all as a system in consequent, and completely functional terms. Therefore we called his concept not a “water” city but a functional city. In these regards, it is a truly modern city although it has been planned at the end of 15th century, long before modern functional cities appeared. With their gridded orders and sober zoning, driven by a mind-set to transform the world, at least that part of it conceived to be of relevance, into an object of functional purposes. In prolongation of a Christian view of the world, a mind-set equivalent to the mythical aim of dominating the world; now, in modern functional terms solely. It is a world as a system, centrally ordered, and it is the world of an essentially technical system; in case of Leonardo, not only due to the use of the linear perspective, but due to the will of creating a functional cosmos, a frame of life for a new human condition.
His ideal ’water’ city basically consists of a two-layered grid: The lower level is that of the infrastructure, a rectangular grid of mainly roofed canals and associated ways, the upper level is that where the city in its true sense is placed: the space of the streets, piazze and representational buildings making up, in their composition, a visible and inhabitable cityscape, a space where one can really live; opposed to that infrastructure below, the infra below the ground of where a real city life takes place. At every 180 meters, the grid of the street system above crosses that below, and probably, both these levels have been connected with spiral staircases and ramps at those intersections. But to establish a functional connection between these two levels (Leonardo surely had thought about that) of such a stratified world is not so important when compared with the other characteristic: it is a two-classed society which is expressed here. In Leonardo’s own words, the upper level, the one of a city in its true sense, is reserved for persons of higher social rank; and the lower level, that of infrastructure, belongs to “normal people” (Leonardo) and vehicles of transport. The modern idea of an infrastructure appears, of a structural network of functionalities lying below (infra) the visible surface – which is the one where ‘real’ city life takes place, compared to the other life in that city, that of services and their normal people. Social space, Lefebvre says, is “the space of social practice, the space of the social relations of production and of work and non-work”. Here, it becomes expressed very clearly. With all his ingenium, an engineer decided not only on canals and streets, but also on how to fix social terms; an early precursor of what later – then, in modernity – has been called social engineering: to achieve desired social relations as a system (like those of other functions) to be managed and controlled.
Karlsruhe – the World as Plan
As the worlds from da Vinci to Babel IID, the city of Karlsruhe is made in a tabula rasa-mode, constructed anew on the bare ‘natural’ ground of nature and history alike, that is, without having to consider anything that has been built up or grown up before.
We have to understand the idea of the state in order to understand the construction underlying Karlsruhe; because it is not about the city of Karlsruhe as a specific city in time and space, but about the principles underlying its construction, as a symbolic space. The city was founded 1715, in an era called Absolutism. The idea of the absolute state is central for that of the classical utopia: it is the perfect organization; here, in case of Karlsruhe, expressed as a city-architecture. To comprehend this connection, we have to go first to the idea of an ideal state. The entire ensemble is unique and carefully molded in its overall aesthetic appearance, with prescribed heights of profane buildings ascending from the gate to the castle. On the other hand, the via triumphalis is a new element in the former baroque architecture, so Delfante, integrating new ideas into a former structure which nevertheless is not violated. With the market place, church and city hall a deliberately planned counterpoint to the castle is set, the symbol of the former absolute power. Traces of a modern mind set are coming up, the burghers having not just a symbolic building, their city hall, but also a political counterbalance. Since 1718, the citizens could elect a mayor by their own, they had their own parliament and a civil legislation. The letter of privilege (issued by the emperor) guaranteed more freedom to the burghers than comparable instruments of that time did; the new settlers were liberated from serfdom and compulsory labor, received ground and materials for building their houses free of charge, had their own civil justice, later their own constitution (the most modern in the German domain at the beginning of 19th century) and the right for making proposals to the emperor. In 1822, the first state parliament was installed, in a building designed by Weinbrenner and having real political functions.
Summarized and seen in its total, the ideal state is reflected in its residential capital. Everything was ordered under a central government (even the houses for the burghers were normed) but at the same time, should allow for freedom and development – an ideal state of being, indeed. It is an ideal space that can further unfold, which is not confined to the narrow boundaries of a prefixed entity that cannot change any more. But it remains ordered. Weinbrenner for instance developed model plans for an explicit enlargement of the city area, that is, translated into terms of world view, even growth had to happen in an ordered and preplanned way, directed down to the detail.
As we all know, such an ideal of universal order was swept away by modernity. But: the ideal remained, for instance clearly visible in city constructions of Le Corbusier and others with their “longing for unity”, as Vidler is saying. They lost the idea of a state but this is still a mandatory premise. For a modern mind in particular, the existence of a state became such self-evident that it is not even thought of, as a premise. The modern utopias of Garnier, Motopia and Babel IID, yet the utopia of da Vinci presuppose a functioning state, providing the embracing entity in the conditions of which they are embedded; otherwise, they would not function at all, in their claim to represent concrete utopias.
Tony Garnier, the Industrial City
City life and being human seem to belong together, and it is not without reason that all the ideal spaces are the ideal spaces about cities, and not of idyllic landscapes, natural panoramas, beautiful parks or the like.
What Garnier intends is a moral issue, finally (explicitly stated by him), and not primarily a mere architectural one: the creation of a new society by means of a new architecture. As one author said, it is a humanism modernized. In the old ideals of the Greek polis and the Renaissance, the human was the measure of all things; and this was revived again, but now adapted to the conditions of an industrialized society. It is the conception of a harmonious city, also adapted to the surrounding landscape, which has been conceptualized for human happiness, a city of reason inside which “every functional aspect is, at the same time, an expression of a humanist mind-set.” At least in social terms, it is the closed cosmos of a new, socialist human being. According to the motto of the Biennale 2016, to create an urban universe that is in accordance with the human (Delfante).
Garnier’s ideal space is that of a new society based on community, work, and respect, of a socialist society deserving the name. He puts the program of his city into one sentence, posed on the wall of its central building, the maison commune: the human law is to work; but also, the cult of the beautiful and mutual benevolence is sufficient to make life splendid. Land is in public property, alimentation and health care services are provided by the state, and prisons, police and courts of justice are not needed because there is no place for them, due to the peaceful and just societal conditions. In fact, it is a closed and harmonized social cosmos unfolding here, located in an ideal city for an ideal society. When living here, a Heavenly Jerusalem indeed becomes obsolete. Instead, it became a modern Acropolis without gods, wars, or social injustice. Anatole France, living in the same epoch as Garnier did, proposed to revitalize Antiquity for a modern world, in order to renew the latter. Despite all way-breaking modernity that is expressed in his city, says Ruth Eaton, it is the very combination of classical with social harmony which is present in all of his works.
It is a “new aesthetic for the society regenerated by labor”, and the close resemblance to Zola, Vidler states, already appears in the central location of the maison commune, the communal house. On the outer walls of which sentences from the novel had been placed, according to concept, to be visible for all the city’s inhabitants: For epochs of peace, one reads here, “rails are needed, rails and yet more rails, so that all frontiers might be passed over and so that all people united, might form a single people, on an earth entirely furrowed by routes“. These were the steel ships of the future, one reads, bringing richness and abundance to all; not the present steel ships of war, but those of solidarity and fraternity.There is a problem lurking, in the midst of such a peaceful, and final society in its cosmic closure. What it shall have to do with progress, that colonnade stretching to infinity? For a self-sustaining society, progress can become very dangerous. And this society is self-sustaining because it has everything it needs – seemingly. But: the routes earth has to be entirely furrowed with have not been those of fraternity in progress, but of networks for the use of individuals consuming in progress. So, what happened?
What Tony Garnier tried, admirable as it is, never has been put into praxis. Even if it had been, the question remains if it would have worked; because one can either rely on progress via continuous production and on growth, or on a closed cosmos – which his world was, at least in its social terms.
But perhaps this does not have to remain a contradiction. Perhaps we succeed in combining these contradictory forces of a closed cosmos vs. growth and progress, even more so since we have realized some devastating results of the latter – the point in history where Motopia enters the scene, at the beginning of the 1960s, according to its creator a point where humans have alienated from nature and now live in two worlds, a biological and a mechanical one after having succeeded to lift themselves, with the help of mathematical sciences, above their former animal state. At the same time, humans still remain to be animals, bound to their physical existence, as Jellicoe, the creator of Motopia, states. This generates conflicts and frictions, and it raises an old topic anew: what could be an ideal surrounding under these circumstances, in our terms, an ideal space suited to this new human condition? Motopia tries to answer this, as does the world to follow afterwards, Babel IID. We need some solutions because we have been overwhelmed by the forces of a technical civilization, as Jellicoe says. According to him, this holds particularly valid for the car, by its essence, a technical instrument that allows the human being to perform something very unnatural: namely to propel it at will to distances and at speeds that certainly have never been nature’s intention. All the historically grown cities had one thing in common: They were planned for pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles, and even the railways were confined within certain limits. The human being had time to adapt itself to that new instrument, the car, but not its surroundings.
The social idea of Motopia was a separation of mechanical and biological man, Jellicoe says. The only public transport is provided by water buses which travel on a canal system connecting the different lakes. Car traffic is confined to the level of the rooftops, those “roof roads” mentioned which are placed on the tops of the lines of the grid; and to the level beneath it where the cars can park. The latter is the mews road, a one-way street with specific parking space for one car per dwelling – the dwellings of the inhabitants are located inside the lines of the grid as well – and additional space for visitors. From the mews roads, large enough to allow also for delivery vans, ramps curl up to the transit streets of the roof roads which are located at the top of the horizontal buildings making up the grid in its total. In fact, the intended separation is achieved by placing car traffic on the top of that world, on its very roof, so that it does not disturb the world below which embodies an altera natura in a new dimension.
Is a really utopian construction. From its overall appearance and style, it could be even placed out of this earth, on any planet anywhere. It originated in the 1960s, the same era when Motopia and other technical cities were designed. Essentially, it was dedicated to the same goals: to overcome human misery in the contemporaneous metropolitan areas. The very aim of future city construction, Babel’s creator Paolo Soleri says, must be to relieve man from such misery and constraints. In his constructions (of which Babel IID is only one), “the best hopes for contemporary man have been fulfilled and the urban medium has been cleared of slums and cleansed of ills and grievances.”
The recent urban contexts, he says, can be represented in a map – a map of despair, as he coins it. He quotes the catholic philosopher Teilhard de Chardin, a man coming from the domain of the cathedrals but concerned with evolution: Man can be understood only by ascending from physics, chemistry, biology, and geography. Man is, first of all, a cosmic problem. And in this respect, Soleri states, we cannot remain inside the frames and terms of understanding: that megalopolis and suburbia are the only tenets, because next to the concrete misery they generated, they are utopian by their inner contradictions and their detachment from life.
This has to be reached by the general approach of arcology (the word a mixture of “architecture” and “ecology”), an ecological architecture that is, at the same time, multi-levelled and topographically concentrated. It is an architecture that builds one-structure systems (in his words), condensed and large but not sprawling over the earth’s surface, opposed to the constructs of a recent modern urbanity. The aim of his new architecture is to retain an unspoiled countryside and, therefore, to attain a maximum population density.
Soleri’s construction appears as a somewhat strange mixture between both these mythical spaces, a Babylonian tower and a Heavenly City. It will be a focal structure, in his words, the unmistakable expression of man the maker and man the creator. And it would be surrounded by nature, “an uncluttered and open landscape”. In symbolic terms and for a homo faber molding his own environments, it is a new Babylonian tower, and a new cathedral at the same time – secularized but mighty, reconciling nature with culture as well as reconciling the old contradiction between Babylon and the City of God. In a way, it resembles the idea of a machina mundi, a world machine – a technical second paradise posed in the midst of natural surroundings.
Interesting in all these utopian regards is the idea of dictatorship. In prolongation of the Platonic utopian tradition, he and other “influencers” of his days believed that it needs a dictatorship to save earth, because human beings would otherwise not be capable to do this. We see how the “classical” utopia works: as a perfect organization placed by (nearly) omnipotent minds. We see not only a Platonic and a Christian, monotheist tradition unite, but also a decisive judgement about human nature: man is not only an akosmeton genos, an a-cosmic being as the Greek tragedy writer Aischylos said; but moreover, nature, and the world as such, has to be saved from him. Therefore Soleri’s concentration of spots populated by humans (his new Babylons) in the midst of an unspoiled nature.
After all these ideal spaces, it is time to return to reality again. To do so, we have chosen the antipode of those spaces presented so far, their nearly absolute negation: the favela, a Portuguese word from the place where they first were named so, in Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of 20th century. According to an estimate, by 2050, 68% of the worldwide human population will live in urban agglomerations, and ⅔ of them in favela-like structures. If it holds valid that an estimated 1 billion of these live in slums or ‘favelas’, it would mean that a quarter of the entire urban population today will live in these conditions; and that at least for one fourth of the urban population, this is the ‘normal’ conditio humana today – of a being that had been characterized to embody a cultural animal and, first of all, a zoon politikon, an animal that lives in city-conditions – and has to live there, in order to prosper; and not in those of recent slumming.
This re-issues the entire topic of an ideal space or, more precisely as concrete human conditions of dwelling are regarded, that of an ideal city. Are such constructs confined to the happy few, the privileged people – as for instance in the new ideal cities which are built as “smart” cities, i.e. technologically perfected spaces with full internet devices etc., an urban agriculture as a new form of reconciling the old dichotomy between nature and culture, and free plus healthy individuals expecting an old age? What about the rest of a worldwide urban population for whom the second nature has not become culture, but culture in the shape of an overcrowded civilization existing in marginal conditions? Does it make sense to speak of “ideal spaces” any longer, in the context of such conditions?
To draw a very general, rough sketch: due to the side effects they generated in the course of their unfolding, it were the myths of growth, progress and functionality, addressed in the foregoing, which led to such circumstances – in the final, when combined with capitalist circumstances (to abbreviate different historical processes). It were certain myths of order which generated their very opposite, in terms of a view of the world, and of actual relations. These myths stand for (a), the typically modern belief that a relevant world, i.e. the total of ‘made’ spaces where humans have to live, can be made: can be constructed, at least in its relevant parts; and (b), that such a world can be designed as a system of networks of functionalities, i.e. as a system which is essentially technical. It is a myth that became applied full-scaled to city space for the first time in the Renaissance, as we have seen. In other words, it is one which has a long-reaching mental anchorage in our ‘cultural’ memory, based on the belief that the world can be dominated, and that this is possible in literal technical terms. Or, as the anthropologist Levi-Strauss formulated it, it is equivalent to a magic ruse to ban the Being: through transforming it into a set of functions, a system of control.
All this has to be doubted in the face of such developments.
Today, we have thought first that utopia is dead. Then we re-detected an idea of a counter-utopia,, the idea of a strictly individual paradise of relief and consumption, Schlaraffia. and that this new state of being, enhanced by a neoliberal capitalism and a boost of technical means, will annihilate the utopian necessity forever – a new mythos of consumption, and of liberation. Seen from the background of an ever-increasing urban population. In other words, utopia turns into both a dystopian and probable scenario.
But: What if we would be enabled to erect utopia, the eu-topos or “good place” by our own, without the dictatorship of predefined and pre-given orders? What would be if we really could decide by our own which places we want to live in – not as an internet escapism, but as a real physical space? What would be if we, in trying so, refrained from the myth of a second paradise? By not trying to achieve some final end state but one that is allowed to evolve, that remains flexible and vivid? Wouldn’t this be a great idea?
Ulrich Gehmann, Michael Johansson & Andi Seiss