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.

Utopia and Youth

Within the context of the generalised youth protests that rocked Greece last December – also gaining widespread international recognition – this year’s workshop focuses on the relation between utopian discourse and youth. A historical study of youth movements reveals that youth has always functioned as a nodal point of resistance against the socio-political status quo of the day, advancing radical political transformation and social change. This is not to say, however, that all youth mobilization has a progressive orientation; on the contrary, it has also been lured by utopias of exclusion such as the Nazi Utopia of Racial Purity. Hence, the workshop will deal in depth with youth creativity and youth violence, will examine the role of youth subcultures in social and political mobilization, focusing on both the creative as well as the destructive dimensions of youth activism.

6th Painting Studio ASFA (Athens School of Fine Arts)

Basic timetable:

2 July: arrivals
3 July – 6 July: presentations
14 - 15 July: preparation of the presentation of the work
16-17 July: show and presentations of final works
18 July: end of show - departures

Number of Participating Students: 11

Organizer-Facilitator: Vassilis Vlastaras, Visual artist, Lecturer, ASFA
Assistant Organizer-Facilitator: Maria Glyka, Visual artist.

19 July, 2009

Sarah Kate Wilson and Jayne Wilton

A Cloud over Utopia
And it came to pass that a cloud descended on Utopia in the year 2009. It moved across the cerulean field symbolising the rift between idealism and reality. It cast its shadow on the landscape mirroring the building tension below and creating the opportunity for the writing of a new Utopian Blueprint.

Balloons after Utopia

Balloon Archways
Balloon Bouquets
Balloon Animals
Nets of Balloons
Helium Balloons
Hot Air Balloons

Balloons were used everywhere in Utopia, they symbolized joy, freedom and celebration. Birthday parties and Weddings were decorated with them, they adorned family homes and gardens. Adults made animals with them to entertain children, at large public events huge nets of balloons hung suspended from the ceiling that were released all at once, creating a cascade of balloons. Balloons have the tendency to explode and therefore make a large ‘pop’ noise, only adding to the excitement of the balloons. Balloons can be filled with human breath or helium, helium allows them to however in mid air and defy gravity. You could also travel by Balloon, when they were made from light weight fabric and filled with hot air that lifted them into the sky.

After the fall of Utopia, balloons were forgotten about, they were seen to be frivolous and excessive and had no place post-Utopia.

If you have discovered this publication, you are now the lucky owner of one single balloon, use it wisely.

How to inflate the balloon

- Hold the nozzle of the balloon in your mouth and pinch the balloon about one inch away from the nozzle. Just hold the rolled nozzle (collar) between your lips, not your teeth.
- Blow into a small section of the balloon and try to form a bubble. While blowing, stretch the section of balloon you are holding a small amount (grab the balloon about 2 inches from the nozzle and stretch it outward another inch or two). It's much easier to fill the rest of the balloon if you have a small bubble to get you started. After forming this small bubble, pinch the nozzle closed so no air comes out, and take deep breaths and keep filling the balloon.
- Once the balloon is filled sufficiently with air tie the neck of the balloon in a single knot, and this is now your balloon.

18 July, 2009

Folding Poster side a and b


1)Copy the image

2)Print in A4 format

3)Print in one side the piggy (side B)

4)Print the rest on the other
side (side A)

5)Fold the paper such as to have
the astronaut as a cover and the
shadowy figure in front of the fire
as the back cover

Larry and me (roomates of Utopia)

16 July, 2009

www.ephemeraweb.org theory & politics in organization volume 5(2): 394-408

From Utopian Worlds to Utopian Spaces: Reflections on the Contemporary Radical Imaginary and the Social Forum Process*
Simon Tormey

13 July, 2009

‘Channel ‘ by Jayne Wilton

Communication is critical to a utopian society. The ‘Channel’ project came from a desire to work with the materiality of communicational processes and with different permutations of individuals within a team. Telecommunication cables were stripped of their insulating coating and knitted together by the participants of the residency; a process itself requiring communication, the equal participation of all participants and the crafting of order from a chaotic mass of redundant cable.

Kjartan Abel - Utopia

11 July, 2009

The Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Isle of Youth is the second-largest Cuban island and the sixth-largest island in the West Indies (After Cuba, Hispanola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico). The island has an area 3056 km² (1180 square miles) and is 100 km south of the island of Cuba, across the Gulf of Batabanó. The island lies almost directly south of Havana and Pinar del Río, and because of its superficial extension, population and for its economic characteristics, is considered to be a Special Municipality, not being a part of any province. The Isle of Youth is, therefore, administered directly by the central government of Cuba.

The largest of the 350 islands in the Canarreos Archipelago (Archipiélago de los Canarreos), the island has an estimated population of 100,000. The capital and largest city is Nueva Gerona in the north, and the second-largest and oldest city is Santa Fe in the interior. Other communities include Columbia, Mac Kinley, Santa Bárbara, Cuchilla Alta, Punta del Este, Sierra de Caballos and Sierra de Casas.

The island was called the Isle of Pines (Isla de Pinos) until it was renamed in 1978.


"The Isle of Pines" is also a classic utopian novel written by Henry Neville in 1668.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The book explores the fictional adventures of George Pines and four fellow female survivors who are shipwrecked on an idyllic island. Pines 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.

Each of the women gives birth to children, who in turn multiply to produce distinct tribes, by which Pines is seen as the patriarch. One of the women, a black slave girl, gives rise to a tribe called the Phills, who increasingly reject the impositions of laws, rules, and Bible readings which are established in an effort to create some form of social order. They eventually rebel completely, and revolt against the white tribes, causing a civil war. At this point some Dutch explorers arrive, bringing with them guns which are used to quell the uprising.

The narrative is written from the viewpoint of the Dutch explorers and begins with their arrival and the discovery of a primitive white English-speaking native race. The explorers discover that the islanders are the grand and great-grandchildren of George Pines, and that in just three generations the islanders have lost the technological and industrial advantage of their British origins. They later discover that they possess an axe which lay blunt and never sharpened. The island itself is so productive in terms of food and shelter that the islanders leave newborn babies exposed to the elements with no harm.

07 July, 2009

Utopia (online game)

Utopia is a massive multiplayer internet-based strategy game. It won the People's Voice Webby Award for Gaming Site of the Year twice (2002[1] and 2003[2]). Utopia is free to play; the game is supported by revenue from banner and pop-up advertising. Players can either pay a small fee for each Age or a one-time fee permanently for some minor in-game bonuses and removal of all advertising in the game.


Utopia keeps track of the players and kingdoms with the most land, honor and net worth throughout the world, and on each individual Island. At the end of each Age, the highest-ranked provinces and kingdoms are enshrined in the Hall of Honors. In addition, there are unofficial player-made lists for War Wins (though the value of such a ranking is disputed), and there are also player-made rankings for alliances.

* Land is the key resource of the game. In addition to a player's skill, a province's size at the end of an Age is also relative to whatever curves are created by changes in the gameplay mechanism from round-to-round, and the prevailing strategies of Utopia's top players in reaction to the changes.

* Honor measures a player's renown. Generally speaking, Honor points cannot be produced like other resources, but must be taken from other players. There are nine different Titles of Nobility (Peasant, Knight/Lady, Lord/Noble Lady, Baron/Baroness, Viscount/Viscountess, Count/Countess, Marquis/Marchioness, Duke/Duchess, Prince/Princess) which are determined through one's Honor. Successfully casting hostile spells, performing thievery operations, or invading another province all take Honor from the victim and give it to the aggressor. In addition, a military attack made during war generates new Honor for the attacker. However, attacks made while under the spell Anonymity, which causes the next attack made to only show the island and kingdom number, instead of showing both and the attacking province's name, will generate no honor. Having a greater Title of Nobility gives a player some minor bonuses, the bonuses becoming more beneficial as one's Title of Nobility increases. Though if the player chooses to be an orc as his or her race, he or she will receive half of the bonuses from Honour.[15]

* Net worth (NW) is not a resource, but an approximate measure of a province's raw power. Land, buildings, military and more all have a set value of Net worth, and larger, more powerful provinces will usually have more Net worth. Because attacks are most effective against players of similar size, having a high Net worth per acre is desirable. Networth is the most popular measure of a players value, as having a higher networth shows that the province has had success against its enemies.

Players are encouraged to interact with other players in the same kingdom; each kingdom has a private forum that is accessible only to its members. Players that do not wish to remain in the kingdom they are assigned to can defect to another kingdom. However, defecting costs 15% of everything a player owns -- land, military, honor and resources -- and is generally used as a last resort. Players are limited to three defections for each Utopian age, and unused defections are lost at the end of the age.

One social aspect of the game which has made its way into play is the existence of alliances. Alliances are not officially endorsed by the game's maintainers and are often disdained by non-alliance players, yet are treated with a certain level of tolerance as an inevitability. Alliances form when groups of competing kingdoms decide to band together and operate as a group. The first organized alliances rose as defense against "unofficial" alliances (not public, just friends working together etc) or multies, but through the ages alliances have formed for a variety of reasons from almost purely social, often nationality-based ones, via educational ones, to defensive ones whose main purpose is to defend their members against "unfair play", and finally to offensive ones who actively use their alliance to gain advantages over others. They often employ tactics that single kingdoms can not use, such as overwhelming an opponent by outnumbering them. The basic structure of the game itself was not designed for these kind of groupings and Utopia gives few defenses against such strategies. Alliances usually coordinate their operations using non-Utopia forums and other non-sanctioned communication channels. In the past, there have also been Alliance Wars, where most kingdoms of one alliance fight other kingdoms belonging to an opposing alliance, recent examples include: ABS (Absalom) vs CoV (Covenant), NA (Nordic Alliance) vs NH (Nation of Hope) & OA (Order of Avalon); 9F (Nine Fates) vs Lotus; NA vs HaJ (Honor and Justice), Absalom vs BF (Brute Force). There have also been at least two wars that are known as "Alliance Vs Server" wars, where the entire or large parts of the non allied players warred against an alliance, e.g. HaLL vs Server War. Unlike the standard alliance war theses wars only usually only end when the age ends, attacks petering out but never really ending.

Absalom is generally accepted as the best alliance in the game, with its kingdoms (Dragons, Equilibrium, Grace, Mercy, Rage, Sanctuary and Trinity) considered the seven best kingdoms in the game today.

Players also commonly use IRC, which has become a huge part of play within growing and experienced kingdoms, and has allowed players to interact like never before, channels have been setup for alliances, nationalities, kingdoms, strategy debate whilst also allowing for easy creation of new channels, as well as private messaging between any two users.[16] Instant messengers are also used., such as ICQ, MSN, AIM and Yahoo Instant Messenger, to aid in communication outside the game. However it is against the rules to force other players to use these methods against their will.


Although Swirve has run Utopia for many years; there have been many who have criticized the game's inability to deal with bullying. A factor that has had a negative effect on its reputation and credibility in recent years.

Another common complaint has been the failed attempt to control players with multiple accounts because of the game's inability to track players via their IP addresses. This is made difficult by the fact that recent versions of the Windows operating system allow for the creation of multiple IP addresses for multiple users, allowing people to easily have multiple accounts. These problems are not unique to Utopia, and have been growing across many online multiplayer game platforms.

On October 31, 2008, the new owners of Utopia, OMAC Industries, announced that limited trading of provinces would be available legally for the next age.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Used Utopia Cars

Find Used Cars for Sale in Utopia, TX

Looking for a Used Car in Utopia? We have made it easy to find, research & buy a Utopia Used Car or Truck. Our Used Car Classifieds allow you to find, compare, price and get more information on any Used Car Listing in Utopia. We also connect you to the seller of a Used Car to make negotiations easy and save money. To begin, select a Make in Utopia to view the Used Cars & Trucks in Utopia.

Club Utopia

Club Utopia is always 21 and over!

On the other hand there is no dress code.

Their remodel is not done; they are making improvements as fast as they can. Their new lighting system includes all new intelligent lighting, strobes, and color spots. Their all new Turbosound system is absolutely amazing with 32,000 watts of the most musical system you've heard. See you soon.

December Greek riots


Neverland (also spelled Never Land or expanded as Never Never Land) is a fictional world featured in the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them. It is the dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and others. Although not all people in Neverland cease to age, its best known resident famously refused to grow up, and it is often used as a metaphor for eternal childhood (and childishness), immortality, and escapism.

Nature of Neverland. The novel explains that the Neverlands are found in the minds of children, and that although each is 'always more or less an island', and they have a family resemblance, they are not the same from one child to the next. For example, John Darling's 'had a lagoon with flamingos flying over it' while his little brother Michael's 'had a flamingo with lagoons flying over it'. The novel further explains that the Neverlands are compact enough that adventures are never far between. It says that a map of a child's mind would resemble a map of Neverland, with no boundaries at all.

Young women at Utopia

Young women at Utopia, a Moscow nightclub, at a party for Russian Playboy Magazine. When asked if they supported the government's reform programs, they replied, "Of course, our life can't get any better than this."

Text of a student on the killing of a 15 year old student (from her school) by a police officer on December 2008

«Οχι, δεν διάβασα. Και ούτε θα είχα την ενέργεια να γράψω. Τα ίδια γυρνάνε στο μυαλό μου ξανά και ξανά. Πάνε πάνω από 24 ώρες που σκέφτομαι το ίδιο πράγμα. 15 χρονών, Αλέξανδρος Γρηγορόπουλος. Το είδαν οι κολλητές μου. Στη Μεσολογγίου. Τον ήξερα μόνο φατσικά. Ηξερα τους κολλητούς του όμως......Εγώ δεν ήμουν εκεί. Είχα πάει Ψυρρή. Ηξερα ότι οι άλλες ήταν Εξάρχεια. Κανείς δεν είχε βγει από την υπόλοιπη παρέα. Ισως κάτι να ήξεραν παραπάνω. Ούτε εγώ ήθελα να πάω Εξάρχεια. Είπα "θα περάσω μετά". Η Α... βρέθηκε στον δρόμο μου και ήρθε και μου 'πε "15 χρονών παιδί νεκρό στη Μεσολογγίου". Ο νους μου πήγε στους δυο Ν..., είναι οι μικρότεροι εκεί πέρα. Για τρεις ώρες μετά ζήτημα να έβγαλα δέκα κουβέντες. "Ποιος είναι;", "Πώς είναι η φάτσα του;", "Είναι ο αδελφός του Τ...;", "Δεν πιστεύω να 'ναι ο Ν...". Τα τηλέφωνα βάραγαν όλο το βράδυ από παντού. Κλείσαν τα Εξάρχεια. Τα κορίτσια ήταν ακόμα εκεί. Και εγώ δεν ήμουνα κοντά τους. Γιατί δεν ήμουν κοντά τους; Δεν ήθελα να το δούνε αυτό. Δεν ήθελα να τους σημαδέψει μια τέτοια εικόνα. Μακάρι να μπορούσαμε να κλείσουμε τα μάτια στις φρίκες, να μην αφήνουμε τον άλλον να βλέπει, για να μην βλέπει εφιάλτες. Δεν είναι όμως έτσι τα πράγματα. Δυστυχώς. Πρέπει να αντιμετωπίζουμε το διεστραμμένο ύφος του κάθε τέρατος. Ακουγα. Ακουγα για το υπόλοιπο βράδυ, τα κρατούσα μέσα μου δεν έλεγα τίποτα. Σοκ. Επαιρνα τα κορίτσια τηλέφωνο. Μου έλεγαν τι έγινε: "Πριν 10 λεπτά σε αυτό το σημείο καθόμασταν. Εσκασε ένα περιπολικό και άρχισε το παιδί να το κοροϊδεύει. Ο μπάτσος μετά από φωνές σημάδεψε από ενάμιση μέτρο απόσταση. Τρεις σφαίρες. Μία τον πέτυχε στην καρδιά. Κοίταξε επάνω και σωριάστηκε πίσω. Λίγο ακόμα κατάφερε να αναπνεύσει. Μετά; Ασθενοφόρα, Λιποθυμίες. Η Κ... έπαθε κρίση πανικού. Η Τ... έκλαιγε, οι άλλες δύο... σοκ. Και στον αέρα να κυκλοφορούν οι λέξεις: Πέθανε - Παιδί - μίσος - οργή - μα είναι νεκρός - Πέθανε σας λέω - εκδίκηση. Μετά καπνός. Σπάστε τα ΟΛΑ. Σπάστε, σπάστε να γίνει η Αθήνα μαύρη σ' ένα βράδυ. Να μην υπάρχει τίποτα αύριο. Να ξεκινήσουν όλα από το μηδέν. Πώς τόλμησε ο δολοφόνος, πώς το σκέφτηκε; Εχει χρέος να αυτοκτονήσει. Να πεθάνει με τον χειρότερο τρόπο. Να ζήσει μια ζωή μέσα από τύψεις, τη χειρότερη ζωή. Να αυτοκτονήσει. Για αυτούς που το είδαν, για τους κολλητούς του, για την οικογένειά του. Να αυτοκτονήσει αυτός και κάθε άλλος μαλάκας που μας θέλει νεκρούς. ΜΙΑ ΜΑΣ ΘΕΛΕΤΕ ΕΣΕΙΣ; ΕΜΕΙΣ 10! ΕΚΔΙΚΗΣΗ! ΟΛΑ ΕΔΩ ΘΑ ΦΑΝΟΥΝ. Κανένας από σας δεν θέλω να έχει το θράσος να με κοιτάξει στα μάτια. Μην μου μιλήσει κανένας σας. Την ασφάλειά μου πλέον εξασφαλίζουν μόνο οι φίλοι μου και αυτοί που θεωρώ οικογένεια......Με αυτή τη σκέψη κοιμήθηκα... Ξύπνησα 8. Δεν ήμουν σίγουρη για το τι συνέβαινε αλλά σηκώθηκα πήγα... κάπως μηχανικά. Βρήκα τις άλλες. Το ξέραμε όλες. Τίποτα πλέον δεν είναι ίδιο. Ούτε σε μας ούτε στον κόσμο. Δεν επέτρεψα στον εαυτό μου να κλάψει ούτε να συνειδητοποιήσει τι γινόταν. Κάθισα μαζί τους.Είδα τον Ν... τον κολλητό του. Σηκώθηκα. Τον αγκάλιασα. Δεν είπαμε τίποτε άλλο. Τον έσφιξα και με έσφιξε. Τα μάτια του ήταν πρησμένα. Γιατί Ν... μου να το έχεις δει αυτό; Το πιο σκληρό πράγμα στον κόσμο. Εσπασα. Ας καιγόταν όλη η Αθήνα, ας γινόντουσαν όλα μαύρα, δεν με νοιάζει. Δεν πρέπει να υπάρχουν τέτοια πρόσωπα. Δεν πρέπει να υπάρχουν τέτοιες σκέψεις. Η πορεία ξεκινά. Αποφασίζουμε να πάμε μαζί με την Ρ......Δεν άργησαν οι ηλίθιοι να ρίξουν χημικά. ΚΑΛΑ ΔΕΝ ΝΤΡΕΠΕΣΤΕ; Τα παιδιά καίγαν, καίγαν, καίγαν. Καπνοί παντού. Και εμείς τρέχαμε. Πατησίων, Αλεξάνδρας, στενά, στενά κι άλλα στενά. Μας κυνηγά διμοιρία. Ποιον κυνηγάς ρε; κάτσε στα αυγά σου! Αυτή η μέρα είναι για τον Αλέξανδρο. Κάνε πίσω επιτέλους......Τρέξιμο, τρέξιμο. «Μπαίνουμε μέσα στα Εξάρχεια». Βρήκαμε κάποιους δικούς μας. Και εκεί βρεθήκαμε ξαφνικά. Στο σημείο. Στη Μεσολογγίου και η Ρ... πάγωσε. Και από πίσω να μας ακολουθούν. Ε, όχι και εδώ ρε. Γιατί πατάς εδώ; Την πήρα από το χέρι να την κάνω να τρέξει......Μέσα σε όλους τους καπνούς η Ρ... τρέχει πίσω από τους ΜΑΤάδες και ουρλιάζει: "Είμαι 17! Σκοτώστε με! Αντε! Δολοφόνοι". Ρ..., φύγε έρχονται από στενά. Τρέχει. Η συνέχεια έχει σημασία; Δε νομίζω. Απλά περνάνε οι ίδιες σκέψεις από το μυαλό μου... Σε τι κόσμο μεγαλώνουν τα παιδιά; Γιατί μας θέλουν νεκρούς; Δεν θέλω να ξαναγίνει αυτό. Πώς θα αντιδράσω; Πώς θα τους κάνω να μετανιώνουν που γεννήθηκαν; Πώς θα κάνω τον κόσμο να καταλάβει; Γιατί με θέλουν νεκρή; Εκεί ήταν που γύρισα σπίτι. Και η μόνη ασφάλεια ήταν η αγκαλιά της μάνας μου. Και έκλαιγα, έκλαιγα μέχρι σήμερα. Ασε με τώρα μη μου μιλάς. Τίποτα δεν είναι ίδιο, απλά άσε με να κλάψω. Και μη με κοιτάξεις στα μάτια γιατί η θλίψη μου θα γίνει οργή».

New Babylon

A nomadic town

We are the living symbols of a world without frontiers, a world of freedom, without weapons, where each may travel without let or hindrance from the steppes of central Asia to the Atlantic Coast, from the high plateau of South Africa to the forests of Finland.

-- Vaida Voivod III, President of the World Community of Gypsies (quoted from an interview published by Algemeen Handelsblad, Amsterdam, 18 May 1963.

For many a year the gypsies who stopped awhile in the little Piedmontese town of Alba were in the habit of camping beneath the roof that, once a week, on Saturday, housed the livestock market. There they lit their fires, hung their tents from the pillars to protect or isolate themselves, improvised shelters with the aid of boxes and planks left behind by the traders. The need to clean up the market place every time the Zingari passed through had led the town council to forbid them access. In compensation, they were assigned a bit of grassland on the banks of the Tamaro, the little river that goes through the town: the most miserable of patches! It's there that in December 1956 I went to see them in the company of the painter [Guiseppe] Pinot Gallizio, the owner of this uneven, muddy, desolate terrain, who'd given it to them. They'd closed off the space between some caravans with planks and petrol cans, they'd made an enclosure, a 'Gypsy Town.'

That was the day I conceived the scheme for a permanent encampment for the gypsies of Alba and that project is the origin of the series of maquettes of New Babylon. Of a New Babylon where, under one roof, with the aid of moveable elements, a shared residence is built; a temporary, constantly remodeled living area; a camp for nomads on a planetary scale.


Utilitarian society

The term designates all known forms of society, including the modern capitalist and socialist State. It asserts a fundamental reality, the same for all these forms of community life, old and new, namely the exploitation of the human being's capacity for work. 'Utility' is the principle criterion in appreciating man and his activity. The creative man, Homo Ludens, can only claim his rights on rare occasions.

The opposite of utilitarian society is ludic society, where the human being, freed by automation from productive work, is at least in a position to develop his creativity. The terms 'class society' or 'classless society' do not express, or imperfectly so, this conflict. But it is clear that a ludic society can only be a classless society. Social justice is no guarantee of freedom, or creativity, which is the realization of freedom. Freedom depends not only on the social structure, but also on productivity; and the increase in productivity depends on technology. 'Ludic society' is in this sense a new concept.

Homo Ludens

Term used for the first time by Johann Huizinga in a book of that title, subtitled: 'A Study of the Element of Play in Culture.' In his foreword, Huizinga speaks of the man who plays in still-measured terms: 'In the course of time we have come to realize that, after all, we are not as reasonable as the eighteenth century, with its worship of reason and its naive optimism, assumed; hence, modern fashion inclines to designate our species as Homo Farber: Man the Maker. But though faber may not be quite so dubious as sapiens, it is, as a name specific to the human being, even less appropriate, seeing that many animals, too, are makers. There is a third function, however, applicable to both human and animal life, and just as important as reasoning and making -- namely, playing. It seems to me that next to Homo Faber, and perhaps on the same level as Homo Sapiens, Homo Ludens, Man the Player, deserves a place in our nomenclature.'

This discretion in the use of the term can perhaps be explained by the slight importance utilitarian society gives to play. Homo Ludens has only ever been a rarely manifested modality of Homo Sapiens, a condition that, unlike [the condition of] Homo Faber, largely goes unnoticed. Huizinga, for whom playing is a flight from 'real' life, does not distance himself in his interpretation from the norms of utilitarian society. And, in his historical analysis of the theme, he quite rightly situates Homo Ludens in the upper echelons of society, more precisely within the propertied leisure class, and not in the laboring masses. However, by separating capacity for work and production, automation has opened the way to a massive increase in the number of Homo Ludens. Huizinga nevertheless had the merit of pointing to the Homo Ludens dormant within each of us. The liberation of man's ludic potential is directly linked to his liberation as a social being.
Social space

Sociologists extend this concept to the aggregate of social relations and ties that define man's freedom of movement in society, and also, and above all, its limits. This symbolic interpretation of space is not one we share. For us, social space is truly the concrete space of meetings, of the contacts between beings. Spatiality is social.

In New Babylon, social space is social spatiality. Space as a psychic dimension (abstract space) cannot be separated from the space of action (concrete space). Their divorce is only justified in a utilitarian society with arrested social relations, where concrete space necessarily has an anti-social character.

New Babylon: Outline of a culture

The social model

The question of knowing how one would live in a society that knows neither famine nor exploitation nor work, in a society in which, without exception, anyone could give free rein to his creativity -- this troubling, fundamental question awakens in us the image of an environment radically different from any that has hitherto been known, from any that has been realized in the field of architecture or urbanism. The history of humanity has no precedent to offer as an example, because the masses have never been free, that is, freely creative. As for creativity, what has it ever meant but the output of a human being?

Yet let us suppose that all nonproductive work can be completely automated; that productivity increases until the world no longer knows scarcity; that the land and the means of production are socialized and as a result global production rationalized; that, as a consequence of this, the minority ceases to exercise its power over the majority; let us suppose, in other words, that the Marxist kingdom of freedom is realizable. Were it to be, we could no longer ask the same question without instantly attempting to reply to it and to imagine, albeit in the most schematic manner, a social model in which the idea of freedom would become the real practice of freedom -- of a 'freedom' that for us is not the choice between many alternatives but the optimum development of the creative faculties of every human being; because there cannot be true freedom without creativity.

If we situate all known forms of society under a single common denominator, 'utilitarianism,' the model to be invented will be that of a 'ludic' society -- this term designating the activities that, relieved of all utility as well as all function, are pure products of the creative imagination. Now, it is as a creator, and only as a creator, that the human being can fulfill and attain his highest existential level.

In imagining a society in which each man is free to create his life, to give it shape according to his deepest aspirations, we will not have recourse to the forms and images of this long period of history in which man has had to sacrifice the greater part of his creative energy in an unceasing struggle for existence. Our social model will be, indeed, fundamentally different from preceding models; it will also be qualitatively superior.

Let us begin with some basics:

--Automation of all 'useful,' repetitive activities frees, at the mass level, an energy that can henceforth be directed towards other activities.

--Collective ownership of the land and the means of production, and rationalization of the production of consumer goods, facilitates the transformation of this energy into creative activity.

--With productive work disappearing, collective timekeeping has no more rasion d'etre; the masses will, on the other hand, have a considerable amount of free time.

The network

It is obvious that a person free to use his time for the whole of his life, free to go where he wants, when he wants, cannot make the greatest use of his freedom in a world ruled by the clock and the imperative of a fixed abode. As a way of life Homo Ludens will demand, firstly, that he responds to his need for playing, for adventure, for mobility, as well as all the conditions that facilitate the free creation of his own life. Until then, the principle activity of man had been the exploration of his natural surroundings. Homo Ludens himself will seek to transform, to recreate, those surroundings, that world, according to his new needs. The exploration and creation of the environment will them happen to coincide because, in creating his domain to explore, Homo Ludens will apply himself to exploring his own creation. Thus we will be present at an uninterrupted process of creation and re-creation, sustained by a generalized creativity that is manifested in all domains of activity.

Starting from this freedom in time and space, we would arrive at a new kind of urbanization. Mobility, the incessant fluctuation of the population -- a logical consequence of this new freedom -- creates a different relation between town and settlement. With no timetable to respect, with no fixed abode, the human being will of necessity become acquainted with a nomadic way of life in an artificial, wholly 'constructed' environment. Let us call this environment New Babylon and add that it has nothing, or almost nothing, about it of a 'town,' in the traditional sense of the term. The town is a form of urbanization characteristic of utilitarian society: a fortified place for protection against a hostile external world, it becomes, as a mercantile center, an 'open town,'; then, with the advent of mechanization, a center of production -- and at all these different stages it is the place where a stable population resides, rooted there by a particular way of life. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule: certain relations between towns enable a small number of individuals to change their place of residence, and in so doing trigger a process of acculturation in which the town acquires, aside from its utilitarian function, the function of a cultural center. But this phenomenon is relatively infrequent and the number of individuals involved is not great.

The culture of New Babylon does not result from isolated activities, from exceptional situations, but from the global activity of the whole world population, every human being being engaged in a dynamic relation with his surroundings. There are no a priori links between anyone. The frequency of each man's movements and the distances he will cover depend on decisions he will make spontaneously, and which he will be able to renounce just as simultaneously. Under these conditions social mobility suggests the image of a kaleidoscopic whole, accentuating sudden unexpected changes -- an image that no longer bears any similarity to the structures of a community life ruled by the principle of utility, whose models of behavior are always the same. In our case, the urban must respond to social mobility, which implies, in relation to the stable town, a more rigorous organization on the macro level, and at the same time a greater flexibility at the micro level, which is that of an infinite complexity. Freedom of creation demands in any case that we depend as little as possible on material contingency. It presupposes, then, a vast network of collective services, more necessary to the population in movement than to the stable population of functional towns. On the other hand, automation leads to a massive concentration of production in gigantic centers, situated outside the space of daily life.

The centers of production outside this space and the collective facilities inside it determine the general lines of the macro-structure in which, under the influence of indeterminate movements, there will be defined a more differentiated and necessarily more flexible micro-structure.

From these two preconditions -- the optimum organization of material conditions and the maximum development of each person's sense of initiative -- we can deduce the essentials of a structure that is no longer composed of nuclei, as in the traditional settlement, but is organized according to the individual and collective covering of distance, of errancy: a network of units, linked one to the other, and so forming chains that can develop, be extended in every direction. Within these chains are found the services and everything pertaining to the organization of social life, in the "links" of the network, the entirely automated units of production, from which man is absent.

The basic elements of the network, the SECTORS, are autonomous units of construction, which nevertheless intercommunicate. The sector network is perceived from within as a continuous space.

New Babylon ends nowhere (since the earth is round); it knows no frontiers (since there are no more national economies) or collectivities (since humanity is fluctuating). Every place is accessible to one and all. The whole earth becomes home to its owners. Life is an endless journey across a world that is changing so rapidly that it seems forever other.


The building of New Babylon can only begin once the economy is exclusively aimed at the satisfaction of our needs, in the widest sense of the term. Only such an economy permits the complete automation of non-creative activities, and consequently the free development of creativity.

The implementation of New Babylon is a slow process of growth of a sectorial world that progressively replaces pre-existing urban structures. At first one sees, in among the conglomerates, isolated sectors appear that become poles of attraction for the former to the extent that, with the time consumed in work diminishing, the settlement becomes disorganized. During this time, the sectors are meeting places, socio-cultural centers of a kind; then, as their number is augmented and the links that unite them increased, activity within the sectors becomes specialized and increasingly autonomous in relation to the residential areas.

A New Babylonian way of life then begins to be defined, which takes off when the regrouped sectors make up a network: a structure that can compete with the settlement structures, whose significance is progressively downgraded as man ceases to take part in the production process. The same phenomenon being produced in many places, one will see many sectors group together, unite and form a whole. From then on, fluctuation will increase.

In the first phase, the distance between sectors and groups of sectors increases the demand for rapid means of locomotion. Crossing residential areas from one sector to another must be as brief as possible. Later, when the sectorial world is unified and fluctuation intensifies, there is no longer need to move quickly to change milieu. The flexibility of internal space in the sectors admits of multiple variations in environment and ambiance across relatively constrained surfaces. As to the means of transport, they will not be so indispensible to movement. A new function emerges to enlarge their original function: from being a tool for work they become tools for play.


Given the scale of social space in the sectorial network, and its continuity, the space of rapid movement no longer coincides with the New Babylonian way of life. The later is traversed by a slow and continuous flux, displacement being but one of the forms of activity within the sectors. But undoubtedly one would still seek to move rapidly from time to time, by land for shorter distances, or by air. For air transport one can imagine, on the terrace roofs, airplane runways and heliports. As to rapid circulation on the ground, we have to imagine a road network as independent as possible from the sector network. A multi-level lay-out would guarantee the autonomy of networks and thoroughfares. The best solution for decongesting the ground consists in raising the sectors on pilotis, spaced as widely apart as possible. One advantage of this construction is that it permits the arrangement of an unbroken sequence of terrace roofs. In this way, a second open-air level is created, a second artificial landscape above the natural landscape.

Given their huge size, the sector interiors depend on the system of distribution of energy needed for lighting, ventilation and air conditioning, but this 'dependency' implies a certain freedom: freedom from the monotonous alteration of day and night, which humanity has sought since the dawn of time.

Taken as a whole, New Babylon presents itself as a network of huge links, the greater part of which are raised above the ground. On the ground, a second network, traffic. The 'links' are areas generally devoid of building, though with the exception of centers of production and the installations that have no place in the sector social space, like, for instance, transmitter antennae, and perhaps drilling rigs, historic monuments, observatories and other facilities for scientific research. Part of these vacant areas is given over to different working of the ground itself and to rearing livestock; another part to nature reserves, wooded parks. The network structure facilitates acess to these, the intervening distances being each time relatively small.

The topographical surveying of New Babylon poses problems that cannot be resolved by using the tradition means of cartography. Given, on the one hand, its organization on many levels (ground, inside the sectorial volume, terrace roofs), the connections between levels, the nature of communications and the solutions of continuity created between the levels can only emerge in maquette form. On the other hand, the structures are anything but permanent. In effect it is more a question of a micro-structure in continuous transformation, in which the time factor, the fourth dimension, plays a considerable part. Consequently, any three-dimensional representation would, in itself, only have the value of a snapshot, since even admitting that the model of each sector may be reduced to several planes and sections of the different levels, and that one manages thereby to constitute a sort of detailed atlas of the sectors, it would still be necessary, from one instant to the next, to record, using symbolic notations as in a ship's log, all the topographical modifications that are produced. Recourse to a computer will doubtless be necessary to resolve such a complex problem.

The sector

The sector is the smallest element, the basic unit of the New Babylonian network, one of the 'links' in the chains that make it up. As one might expect, its dimensions are markedly greater than the dimensions of the elements (buildings) that make up the towns, such as they are known. The scale of these elements depends on the system of social relations. In rural communities where human relations and family ties are tightly enmeshed, the basic element is the independent family residence. In industrial towns, given the social character of production work, relationships are established at school, in the place of work or leisure, in political and other meetings -- which supplement family ties. Thus each member of a family creates personal ties outside of it. Under these conditions, larger residential units are seen to appear, blocks for many families, sometimes equipped with communal services. But there, as in rural communities, one is dealing with a sedentary population, a regular way of life.

When the family group disintegrates and the division of time and space is no longer socially determined by productive work, when one can decide the place and duration of one's stay, the utlimate ties are broken. For all that, the more or less lasting relations between people will not have disappeared, but restrictive social relations will have been replaced by more varied and changing emotional ties. More so than in stable communities, the fluctuating society favors fortuitous contacts and encounters.

The sector is a basic construction (macro-structure) in which an environment is constructed. Qua support, the macro-structure must allow the greatest freedom in the permanent construction (micro-structure) of the interior space. In its simplest form, the sector incorporates a number of superimposed horizontal spaces linked to each other and to the ground by vertical elements, and one or more fixed nuclei for services. This space could be taken up by a more complex structure resulting from the articulation of variable smaller spaces. As an alternative to the support structure, one can also imagine a 'floating' structure, a suspended sector secured to one or more masts. Another possible alternative, the self-bearing structure, requires a limited number of points of support, which is an advantage, but, since the module and the dimensions of the micro-structure depend more directly on the macro-structure, the organization of interior space is no longer as free. The choice of one or the other solution -- a sector on pilotis, or a suspended or self-bearing sector -- also depends in certain measure on the geographical position.

The macro-structure, then, houses a moveable interior structure. Since the dimensions of the sector are important, any demolition or transformation of the basic structure is of necessity an ambitious undertaking. However, the ludic life of the inhabitants of New Babylon presupposes frequent transformation of the interior of the sectors. For this to take place without problems, the containing structure would have to be as neutral as possible, and, from the construction point of view, the variable contained structure [would have to be] completely independent of the former.

The variable structure grows out of the moveable assembly systems (walls, floors, terminals, bridges, etc.) light and therefore easy to transport, which can be as easily mounted as dismounted, thus [making them] re-usable. Any assembly project requires both the normalization of the module and the standardization of production. The dimensions of the macro-structure are determined by the module of standard elements. But this does not mean, of course, limiting the possible combinations or simplifying the forms, since a great number of standard assembly types and systems can be combined in a multiplicity of ways.

With these few data, a schematic idea of the sector can be arrived at. It is a mainly horizontal skeleton, extending over ten or twenty hectares at some 15-20 meters above the ground: the total height is somewhere between 30 and 60 meters. Inside, one or more fixed nuclei contain a technical center and a service center that is also a hotel reception center with individual rooms. Some of the sectors are provided with sanitary and teaching facilities, warehousing and distribution facilities for articles of everyday use. Others, with libraries, scientific research centers and anything else that may be necessary. The nuclei occupy a part of the sector; the rest, the most important part of New Babylon, is a social space with moveable articulations: the playground of Homo Ludens.

A volume with the span of a New Babylon sector is more independent of the external world than a construction built on a smaller scale. Daylight, for instance, only penetrates a few meters there, a large part of the interior being artificially lit. The accumulation of solar heat and the loss of heat in cold weather occur so slowly that the changes in ambient temperature barely influence the temperature inside. The climatic conditions (the intensity of lighting, temperature, the hygrometric state, ventiliation) are all under technical control. Inside, a variable range of climates can be created and modified at will. Climate becomes an important element in the play of ambiance, all the more so since the technical apparatus is accessible to everybody and the decentralization (of distribution) encourages a certain autonomy of the sector or group of sectors. Smaller centers are preferred to a single center, which facilitates reproducing the most diverse climates and, why not, inventing new ones as a contrast, changing the seasons, transforming them according to an infinitely varied synchronization accorded to the metamorphosis of space.

The audiovisual media will be used in the same spirit. The fluctuating world of the sectors calls on facilities (a transmitting and receiving network) that are both decentralized and public. Given the participation of a large number of people in the transmission and reception of images and sounds, perfected telecommunications become an important factor in ludic social behavior.

The New babylonians

Creativity and agrressivity

They wander through the sectors of New Babylon seeking new experiences, as yet unknown ambiances. Without the passivity of tourists, but fully aware of the power they have to act upon the world, to transform it, recreate it. They dispose of a whole arsenal of technical implements for doing this, thanks to which they can make the desired changes without delay. Just like the painter, who with a mere handful of colors creates an infinite variety of forms, contrasts and styles, the New Babylonians can endlessly vary their environment, renew and vary it by using their technical implements. This comparison reveals a fundamental difference between the two ways of creating. The painter is a solitary creator who is only confronted by another person's reactions once the creative act is over. Among the New Babylonians, on the other hand, the creative act is also a social act: as a direct intervention in the social world, it elicits an immediate response. The artist's individual creation seems, to other's eyes, to escape all constraint and ripen in isolation. And it is only much later, when the work acquires an undeniable reality, that it will have to confront society. At any given moment in his creative activity, the New Babylonian is himself in direct contact with his peers. Each one of his acts is public, each one acts on a milieu which is also that of the others and elicits spontaneous reactions. All action, then, loses its individual character. On the other hand, each reaction can provoke others in turn. In this way interventions form chain reactions that only come to an end when a situation that has become critical 'explodes' and is transformed into another situation. The process escapes one person's control, but it matters little knowing who set it off and by whom it will be inflected in turn. In this sense the critical moment (the climax) is an authentic collective creation. The yardstick, the space-time framework, of the New Babylonian world is the rhythm in which each moment suceeds the last.

From Homo Faber's point of view, New Babylon is an uncertain universe in which the 'normal' man is at the mercy of every possible destructive force, every kind of aggression. But let us note that 'normality' is a concept linked to a certain historical practice; its content is therefore variable. As for 'aggressivity,' psychoanlaysis has granted it considerable importance, going so far as to define an 'instinct' of aggression. The area of study thus found itself reduced to the man who struggles for his existence, to the human being engaged in that immemorial combat he, like other species, is still engaged in.

The image of a free man who does not have to struggle for his existence is without historical basis. The instinct of self-defense has also been postulated as the primordial instinct of the human being, and of all that lives. And it is to that instinct that all the others are related.

Aggressivity is a manifestation of the will to power, which is the attribute of a highly developed being (man) capable of foresight and who, in a world in where his existence is threatened, can organize in time, that is to say, according to a plan, a safe place for himself. For that reason, man's aggressivity does not disappear with the satisfaction of his immediate needs. It is, apparently, in the most industrialized, 'rich' countries that aggressive behavior regresses the least, above all among the propertied class. To shed light on this apparent contradiction between material security and the persistence of aggressivity, it would perhaps be necessary to admit the existence of an 'instinct' other than that of self-defense: the creative instinct, which appears with the sublimation of primordial instinct whenever material conditions are sufficiently favorable for self-defense to be transformed into open spontaneity.

The objective impossibility of realizing a creative life within utilitarian society, based on the suppression of creativity but nevertheless containing all the conditions favorable to its development, permits us to understand why aggressivity finds itself apart from the struggle for existence. In contemporary society, the propertied class itself cannot act in a creative manner, and it is easy to understand that it feels more frustrated than the masses, who own nothing yet struggle for their future freedom. The goal of these struggles being the transformation of existing society, conflict itself is creation.

The creative instinct

In speculating on the possible advent of a ludic society, one presupposes from the beginning that every human being feels the latent need to manifest his creativity, and that it appears in the sublimation of primary instinctual forms. This need is not satisfied in our static society, where its accomplishment through creation can only be potential. All education that prepares the future adult for the 'useful' role he will play in society tends to repress the creative instinct. However, it often comes about that 'utility' disappears with the development of technology, even before the child arrives at the end of his studies. Under these conditions 'education' can only play a negative role in the repression of all spontaneous creativity. If this were not the case, the adult would be more creative than the child, while in reality the opposite is true.

But can one conceive of an education aiming at the development of creativity? It is permissible to doubt it and to ask oneself if all education, or what is designated by that term, is not extremely limited, if its principle function is not to restrain freedom, which is the fundamental condition of creativity. The only education favorable to creation is that which unfetters the development of creativity. But Homo Ludens dispenses with education. He learns by playing.

Those who cannot adapt to the structures of utilitarian society condemn themselves to isolation. These are the 'asocial' types, a term often synonymous with 'criminal.' 'Criminality' presupposes transgression of constituted social relations, which explains the different interpretations of which it has been the object. Crime, 'the criminal act,' disturbs the order of these reations and society reacts by eliminating the guilty person. When, from a totally different perspective, 'the criminal act' is considered as an expression of a frustrated will to power, and in admitting that, sublimated, the will to power is transformed into creativity, the 'crime' becomes no more than an abortive attempt at creation. The attitude of the criminal vis-avis reality is no more passive than the artist's, since he too intervenes in a given situation. But while the creative act brings together destruction and construction, lending them balance, the criminal privileges destruction. Yet the artist's intervention displays, at least as regards utilitarian society, an 'asocial' attitude whose effect is barely distinguishable from that of the crime.

In New Babylon, where no 'order' is respected, community life takes shape within the dynamic of permanently changing situations. This dynamic activates forces that in utilitarian are repressed or at best tolerated. That is why it is unthinkable that a life like that in New babylon could be imposed on contemporary society, even for the briefest length of time. When social conventions are no longer respected, as during carnival, it is not creativity that increases but aggressivity: an aggressivity directly proportional to the pressure exerted on creativity by the society.

Every reason for aggressivity has been eliminated in New Babylon. The conditions of life favor sublimation, and activity becomes creation. This superior form of existence is only possible in a world of total freedom where the human being no longer struggles to maintain a certain level, but concentrates his activity on the permanent creation of his life, which he directs toward an even higher level.

The New Babylonian

The struggle for subsistence has divided humanity into interest groups that are often competing but always opposed to the idea of joining together in large groups, harder to defend. The prolonged division into races, tribes, nations, social classes is also explained by the historical conditions of this struggle. In a society that no longer knows the struggle for subsistence, competition disappears at both the individual and group level. Barriers and frontiers also disappear. The way is open to the intermxing of populations, which results in both the disappearance of racial differences and the fusion of populations into a new race, the world-wide race of New babylonians.

The New Babylonian disposes of a complete freedom of action, but this liberty is only actualized in relations of reciprocity with all of his peers. A ludic society based on the community of interests of all human beings knows none of the individual or collective conflicts that characterize utilitarian society. Conflict of interest, competition and exploitation are, in this context, notions devoid of content. The New Babylonian community comprises the totality of the inhabitants of New Babylon, and it is their simultaneous activity that creates the new collective culture.

Even when he covers enormous distances, Homo Faber moves in a social space limited by the obligations to return to a fixed abode. He is 'tied to the land.' His social relations define his social space, which includes his home, place of work, the home of his family and of his friends. The New Babylonian escapes these constraining ties. His social space is unlimited. Because he is no longer 'rooted' he can circulate freely: much more freely since the space he traverses endlessly changes space and atmosphere with the result that it is constantly renewed. Mobility, and the disorientation it produces, facilitates contacts between people. Ties are made and unmade without any difficulty, endowing social relations with a perfect openness.

On some elements of New Babylonian culture

The essence of New Babylonian culture is playing with the elements that make up the environment. Such play is possible due to the integral technical control of all those elements, which thus become a conscious creation of the environment.

The components of the environment are numerous and of different kinds. In order to imagine them in all their diversity, it would be necessary to begin by distinguishing several groups, proceeding from two separate criteria: an objective criterion and a subjective criterion.

A. Elements of spatial construction, which determine its appearance and are the object of prior planning. They can be grouped within the category of 'architectural elements.' (Examples: the form and dimensions of space, the building materials, their structure, their colors);

B. Elements defining the quality of space. Being more malleable, they cannot be planned to the same extent. These are the 'climatic conditions' (temperature, humidity, atmosphere, etc.);

C. Elements that, without deciding the quality of space, influence the perception of space. Their utilization is aleatory and their effect of brief duration. These are 'psychological elements.' (Examples: movement, eating and drinking, the use of verbal or other communication, etc.).

Another classification, using more subjective criteria, distributes the environmental elements according to the influence they exert on us. Here one discerns visual, sonorous, tactile, olfactory and gustatory elements.

But whatever the criteria, it is difficult to isolate an element, to separate it from the rest. And a great number of important elements can form part of many different categories. Thus, among the elements chosen according to the first criterion, the structure of space is linked to climatic conditions as well as to movements in space. The pleasure taken in eating and drinking is not the same in every space, whatever the climate. As to the second criterion, it enables us to discover even more complex associations. A structure, for instance, can be perceived by the sight and by the touch; language is addressed equally to the hearing and to sight. Food and drink to taste, but also to smell, to sight, to the touch. To these elements others are added, acting one on the other in close interdependence. Dissociative analysis is only justified from the viewpoint of technical control. Being sensitive to an environment, to an atmosphere, one does not imagine distinguishing between the elements that make it up, just as when looking at a painting one does not separate out the different materials used by the painter.

Forms of behavior

It is well known that behavior is strongly influenced by environmental elements. In psychiatry the manipulation of these elements is called 'brain-washing.' In New Babylon, where each person can freely use the technical apparatus and actively participate in the collective organization of space, these elements cannot be chosen according to a pre-established goal. Any initiative in one direction or another can, at any moment, be detourned by different, even opposed initiatives.

If the New Babylonian can transform the environment and the ambiance by using the available technical material, if in so doing he can temporarily influence the behavior of others, he in turn undergoes their influence. In any event, the effect of his intervention does not last long, since being a provocation each intervention cannot remain without response.

An objection could be raised, creativity not being the same for all, that the influence of the most active and gifted will be stronger than that of the less energetic and inventive. This objection, however, is characteristic of a utilitarian mentality, which sees in the superiority of intelligence and energy the surest means of acceding to power. In a collective culture, the individual act intermingles with general social activity. It cannot be isolated and the result bears no trace of this. Collective culture is a composite culture, a product of the close and organic interdependence of all creative activity. It is the contrary of the competitive culture we know, which takes the absolute superiority of the strongest, of 'genius,' as the unit by which to measure all activity -- which results in an unparalleled waste of creative energies.

Let's imagine, then, that at a given moment X number of individuals find themselves inside one of the sectors. That the sector is divided into many spaces of different size, form and atmosphere. That each of these spaces is at the point of being transformed: being built, destroyed, mounted, dismounted. . . . That all the individuals present actively participate in this incessant activity. That each person can circulate freely from one space to another. That the sector is being crossed incessantly from one part to another by new people and by those who, after having stayed there awhile, leave. Such mobile complexity of both the spatial conditions and the composition of the 'population' determines New Babylonian culture.

The sectors constantly change form and atmosphere according to the activities that are taking place there. Nobody can return to what was before, rediscover the place as he left it, the image he'd retained in his memory. Nobody now falls into the trap of habit.

Habits, the totality of which constitute a social 'model of behavior,' are what, in utilitarian society, privilege a static way of life: they re so many automatisms. However, the dynamism of a life of permanent creation excludes all automatism. Just as an artist cannot and does not want to repeat one of his works, so the New Babylonian who creates his life cannot exhibit repetitive behavior.

The dynamic labyrinth

While in utilitarian society one strives by every means towards an optimal orientation in space, the guarantee of temporal efficiency and economy, in New Babylon the disorientation that furthers adventure, play and creative change is privileged. The space of New Babylon has all the characteristics of a labyrinthine space, within which movement no longer submits to the constraints of given spatial or temporal organization. The labyrinthine form of New Babylonian social space is the direct expression of social independence.

The ambiance of an environment possessing certain specific plastic and acoustic characteristics depends on the individuals who find themselves there. A single individual can passively submit to this ambiance or change it according to his mood at the time. But with the entrance of a second person, a new presence is felt and the interaction of the two presences excludes any passivity. The quality of the environment and its ambiance no longer depends on material factors alone, but on the manner in which they will have been perceived, appreciated and used, on the 'new way of looking' at them. And when a third or fourth person comes to take his place alongside the others, the situation -- being more complex -- escapes the control of any of the people present. As the number of visitors gradually increases and the composition of the group alters, complexity also increases, while the individual control of space decreases.

The collective use of space entails qualitative change since it tends to reduce passivity. The activity of the occupants of a space is an integral part of the ambiance that, being static, becomes dynamic. In a social space where the number of individuals is ceaselessly changing, along with the relations between them, each and every person is prompted to change his personal ambiance. All these impulses, brought together, represent a force that manifestly acts on the ordering of space, and in New Babylon, where space is public, it acts continuously. Space in its entirety will thus submit to the most unexpected influences, and one can imagine that a similar process unfolds simultaneously in infinitely diverse ways in a multitude of spaces, whose number is as variable as the links created between them. One arrives, then, at the image of an immense social space that is forever other: a dynamic labyrinth in the widest sense of the term.


Technology is the indispensable tool for realizing an experimental collectivism. To seek to dominate nature without the help of technique is pure fiction. As is collective creation without the appropriate means of communication. A renewed, reinvented audiovisual media is an indispensable aid. In a fluctuating community, without a fixed base, contacts can only be maintained by intensive telecommunications. Each sector will be provided with the latest equipment, accessible to everyone, whose use, we should note, is never strictly functional. In New Babylon air conditioning does not only serve to recreate, as in utilitarian society, an 'ideal' climate, but to vary ambiance to the greatest possible degree. As for telecommunications, it does not only, or principally, serve interests of a practical kind. It is at the service of ludic activity, it is a form of play.

In order to grasp this, let us take the example of a local cafe, a very quiet cafe whose atmosphere would suddenly become animated when some new arrival puts money in the jukebox. In New Babylon, each person can at any moment, in any place, alter the ambiance by adjusting the sound volume, the brightness of the light, the olfactive ambiance or the temperature. Should a small group enter a space, then the ordering of that space can become something else. By articulating many small spaces, one can create a space of more ample dimensions, or vice versa. One can also change the form of a space with new entrances, or by blocking the old ones; by adding or removing stairs, bridges, ladders, ramps, etc. With a minimum of effort, one can arrive at any desired modification. Moreover, one has at hand a varied range of partitions of different materials, textures and colors; different too in their thermo-acoustic qualities. The stairs, bridges and pipes are themselves of varied construction and form. Through the combination of irregular, barely practicable surfaces, of smooth ramps, narrow passages, acute angles, etc., certain spaces become selective. This would be the case with those one gets to by a rope ladder or pole, and which will be the favorite places of children and young people. The marginal sectors, which perch on the side of a mountain or along the coastline and which are, given their situation, less frequented, will be the preferred choice of retired or sick people.

The sectors must be as independent as possible from the viewpoint of their construction and their technical facilities. This is important, since any sector must be able to be reconstructed without damage to the neighboring sectors to which it is linked by mobile bridges. The large electric or nuclear power stations that supply the sectors are sited, of course, as far as possible from the network.

The intensification of space

In New Babylon, where the nature and structure of space changes frequently, one will make much more intensive use of global space. The volume of social space and of social activity in space has two consequences: the space available for individual use is greater than in a society with a sedentary population; yet there is no more empty space, space unused even for a brief time, and, as one makes creative use of it, its aspect changes so much and so often that a relatively small surface offers as many variations as a trip around the world. Distance covered, speed, are no longer the yardsticks of movement; and space, lived more intensely, seem to dilate. But this intensification of space is only possible due to the creative use of technical means -- a use that we, who live in a society where use has a finality, can hardly imagine.

To succeed in life is to create and re-create it incessantly. Man can only have a life worthy of himself if he himself creates. When the struggle for existence is no more than a memory, he will be able, for the first time in history, to freely dispose of the whole of his life. He will be able, in complete freedom, to give his existence the form of his desires. Far from remaining passive toward a world in which he is content to adapt himself, for better or worse, to external circumstances, he would aspire to creating another one in which his liberty is realized. In order that he may create his life, it is incumbent on him to create that world. And that creation, like the other, entails the same uninterrupted succession of re-creations.

New Babylon is the work of the New Babylonians alone, the product of their culture. For us, it is only a model of reflection and play.

(Written by Constant, for the exhibition catalogue published by the Haags Gemeetenmuseum, The Hague, 1974.)

The Golden Age Myth: Utopia of the past

The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend, but can also be found in other ancient cultures. It refers either to the earliest, and most ideal age in the Greek range of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, or to a time in the beginnings of humanity which was perceived as an ideal state, or utopia, when mankind was pure and immortal. A "Golden Age" is known as a period of peace, harmony, stability, and prosperity. In literary works, the Golden Age usually ends with a devastating event, which brings about the Fall of Man.

The Golden Age is the only age that falls within the rule of Cronus. It is said that men lived among the gods, and freely mingled with them. Peace and harmony prevailed during this age. Humans did not have to work to feed themselves, for the earth provided food in abundance. They lived to a very old age but with a youthful appearance and eventually died peacefully. Their spirits live on as "guardians". Plato in Cratylus (397 e) recounts the golden race of men who came first. He clarifies that Hesiod did not mean men literally made of gold, but good and noble. He describes these men as daemons upon the earth. Since δαίμονες (daimones) is derived from δαήμονες (daēmones) (=knowing or wise), they are beneficent, preventing ills, and guardians of mortal men.

An analogous idea can be found in the religious and philosophical traditions of the Far East. For example, the Vedic or ancient Hindu culture saw history as cyclical composed of yugas with alternating Dark and Golden Ages. The Kali yuga (Iron Age), Dwapara yuga (Bronze Age), Treta yuga (Silver Age) and Satya yuga (Golden Age) correspond to the four Greek ages. Similar beliefs can be found in the ancient Middle East and throughout the ancient world.

Some Utopianist beliefs, both political and religious, hold that the Golden Age will return after a period of blessedness and gradual decadence is completed. Other proponents, including many modern day Hindus, believe a Golden Age will gradually return as a natural consequence of the changing yugas.

Greek and Roman Antiquity

A myth of ages can be seen in Europe in the writings of Hesiod in the late 7th and early 7th century BC.

The Greek poet Hesiod, around the 8th century BC, in his compilation of the mythological tradition (the poem Works and Days, ll. 109-126), explained that, prior to the present era, there were four other progressively more perfect ones, the oldest of which was called the Golden Age. In this stage:

[...] they lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all devils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things, rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods.

In this age, Hesiod writes, mankind lived in absolute peace, carefree like the gods because they never aged and death was a falling asleep. The main characteristic of this age according to Hesiod was that the earth produced food in abundance, so that agriculture was rendered superfluous. This characteristic also defines almost all later versions of the myth.

The Orphic school, a religious movement from Thrace which spread to Greece in the 5th century BC, held similar beliefs, including the denomination of the ages with metals. Some Orphics identified the Golden Age with the era of the god Phanes, who was regent over the Olympus before Cronus. In classical mythology however, the Golden Age took place during the reign of Cronus. In the 5th century BC, the philosopher Empedocles emphasised the idea of original peacefulness, innocence and harmony in all of nature, including human society.
The Golden Age by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Several centuries later (29 BC) the Golden Age was depicted in Virgil's The Georgics 1.125-8. Here, the poet looked back again to sing the good old times before Jupiter, when:

Fields knew no taming hand of husbandmen;
To mark the plain or mete with boundary-line-
Even this was impious; for the common stock
They gathered, and the earth of her own will
All things more freely, no man bidding, bore.

ante Iouem nulli subigebant arua coloni:
ne signare quidem aut partiri limite campum
fas erat; in medium quaerebant, ipsaque tellus
omnia liberius nullo poscente ferebat.

The topic is taken up again by Ovid's in his Metamorphoses (AD 7):

The golden age was first; when Man yet new,
No rule but uncorrupted reason knew:
And, with a native bent, did good pursue.
Unforc'd by punishment, un-aw'd by fear, [...]

Peace and harmony prevailed during this age. Humans did not grow old, but died peacefully. Spring was eternal and people were fed on acorns from a great oak as well as wild fruits and honey that dripped from the trees. The spirits of those men who died were known as Daimones and were guides for the later ancient Greeks (who considered themselves to live in the later Iron Age.)

This race of humans eventually died out after Prometheus (a Titan) gave them the secret of fire. For this, Zeus punished humans by allowing Pandora to open her box which unleashed all evil in the mortal world.

Within sequences or cycles of eras, the Golden Age stands in sequence with the Silver age and the Iron Age, and conditions can improve or decline according to one's conception of mythic progression.

Plutarch, the Greek historian and biographer of the 1st century, also dealt with the blissful and mythic past of the humanity.


The Indian teachings differentiate the four world ages (Yugas) not according to metals, but according to quality depicted as colors, whereby the white color is the purest quality and belongs to the first, ideal age. These colors were originally assigned to the planet Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury and Mars just like the metals. After the world fall at the end of the fourth, worst age (the Kali yuga) the cycle should be continued, eventually culminating in a new golden age.

The Krita Yuga also known as the Satya yuga, the First and Perfect Age, as described in the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic:

[...] Men neither bought nor sold; there were no poor and no rich; there was no need to labour, because all that men required was obtained by the power of will; the chief virtue was the abandonment of all worldly desires. The Krita Yuga was without disease; there was no lessening with the years; there was no hatred or vanity, or evil thought whatsoever; no sorrow, no fear. All mankind could attain to supreme blessedness. [...]

The Hindus make reference to at least two overlapping yuga cycles, driven by celestial motions, that affect conditions on earth. One cycle, the Maha Yuga, is millions of years in length and therefore difficult to relate to human history or events. The shorter yuga cycle lasts 24,000 years, including an ascending age of 12,000 years (one daiva yuga) and a descending age of 12,000 years, for a total equal to one precession of the equinox. Both cycles are composed of the four eras, and the Satya Yuga is the first and the most significant age in each cycle. This Golden Age era lasts 7200 years (out of the 12,000 years in the ascending period) and another 7200 years (out of 12,000 years in the descending period) in the precessional cycle. Knowledge, meditation, and communion with Spirit hold special importance in this era. The average life expectancy of a human being in Satya Yuga is believed to be about 400 years. During Satya Yuga, most people engage only in good, sublime deeds and mankind lives in harmony with the earth. Ashrams become devoid of wickedness and deceit. Natyam (such as Bharatanatyam), according to Natya Shastra, did not exist in the Satya Yuga "because it was the time when all people were happy".


The Old Norse word gullaldr (literally "Golden Age") was used in Völuspá to describe the period after Ragnarök where the surviving gods and their progeny build the city Gimlé on the ruins of Asgard. During that period, Baldr during Golden Age of Spain Christianity was the biggest most popular religion.

Islamic Golden Age

The Golden Age in Islam started from the time of Prophet Muhammad, for around 500 years through the Ummayad, and Abbasid dynasties, until the Mongol Invasion. This was from the 7th century till the 11th century CE.


According to Tom Whyte and John Ashton's The Quest for Paradise, the Golden Age idea contributed to the modern Christian views of Heaven.

The Golden Age is identified with Eden. It is considered to return during the Kingdom of God, the reign of Christ which will never end. The church father Lactantius availed himself with his description "golden age" of the future thousand-year old of Christ's Kingdom including the usual characteristics (blessedness of entire nature, sumptuous fertility, animal peace, disappearing agriculture and navigation).

Book of Isaiah Ch. 65, which somehow is reminiscent of the mythological Golden Age descriptions, is believed[who?] to refer to that state:

17 "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. 23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD.

– Book of Isaiah (NIV) Chapter 65

Another connection made by some Christians and Jews was that this was a reference to the Nephilim spoken of in the book of Genesis, as referenced from the Book of Enoch, a pseudopigraphal work.

This article covers all forms of Christian and non-Christian Millennialism. You may be looking for the specific articles on Christian Premillennialism, Amillennialism or Postmillenialism.

Early modern Europe

In early modern Europe, some called the Enlightenment a second Golden Age (the first assumed to be that of the ancient authors Homer, Aristophanes, Virgil and especially Horace); in England and Ireland, the Augustan Age and the 18th century were then considered a Golden Age for the progress made in thought (David Hume), science (Royal Society), and literature (Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Alexander Pope). Some believe that the Matter of Britain, a series of legends including Arthurian legends, talks about a Golden Age.


In China, the idea of a golden age was believed as no different from the Greek or Christian term. Pre-modern Chinese regarded the distant antiquity of the Sage Kings, Xia, Shang, and Western Zhou dynasties as the Golden Age. Modern historians generally choose instead the Han, Tang, Northern Song, and/or the Ming dynasties.

This article covers all forms of Christian and non-Christian Millennialism. You may be looking for the specific articles on Christian Premillennialism, Amillennialism or Postmillenialism.


Millennialism (from millennium, Latin for "thousand years"), or chiliasm in Greek, is a belief held by some Christian denominations that there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which "Christ will reign" prior to the final judgment and future eternal state (the New Heavens and New Earth). This belief is derived primarily from the book of Revelation 20:1-6. Millennialism as such is a specific form of Millenarianism.

Among Christians who hold this belief, this is not the "end of the world", but rather the penultimate age, the age just prior to the end of the world when the present heavens and earth will flee away (Rev. 21:1). Some believe that between the millennium proper and the end of the world there will be a brief period in which a final battle with Satan will take place. After this follows the Last Judgment.

Millennialism is also a doctrine of medieval Zoroastrianism concerning successive thousand-year periods, each of which will end in a cataclysm of heresy and destruction, until the final destruction of evil and of the spirit of evil by a triumphant king of peace at the end of the final millennial age (supposed by some to be the year 2000). "Then Saoshyant makes the creatures again pure, and the resurrection and future existence occur" (Zand-i Vohuman Yasht 3:62).

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Changing City

A commercial showing a fantastic representation of a (Utopian?) city where some of the Lettrist International and Situationist International ideas of unitary urbanism take place.

Tower of Babel, Utopian Architecture?

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel, c. 1560

A Computer Game Utopian City

Ikariam © 2008 by Gameforge. All rights reserved.

Sim City

Sim City

Sim city has its roots in the Sin City of the desert of Nevada, Las Vegas, a sub-product deriving from a peculiar way of understanding the zoning principle of the Athens Charter applied to a continent. Sin City was a utopia that sprang up in one of the most inhospitable places on earth, with the sole aim of encompassing what the rigid morality of the post-war period could not accept in the cities of well-to-do families: The existence of gambling, prostitution, drugs, and murder.

Sim City, an elaborated and innocent version of Sin City, was born in 1955 in Anaheim, a city located on the outskirts of Los Angeles, with the aim of inaugurating Disney's first theme park. Disneyland was the first incursion into the terrain of urban simulation, with the creation of an enclosed environment within which on payment of an entry fee differences of sex, age, language, creed, and culture were annulled. The first-generation Sim City was a repairing balm for the conflict festering in the metropolis. Hence its overwhelming success.

Supported by a culture avid for events, and spurred on by the apotheosis of the media and the show society, the advance of thematization would be unstoppable as from the inauguration of Celebration, the first residential operation sponsored by Disney in the 1980s. After these came Seaside, Poundbury, and a whole string of second-generation Sim Cities for real citizens for whom existence can become a game, standard bearers of an overwhelmingly successful trend, New Urbanism.

At this point the philosopher Félix Duque leads us to the third state of the definition of Sim City, in which both the city and its citizens are simulated. A product of the ingenuity of computer programmers, simulation games transfer the thematized Sun City to the interior of the evanescent City of Bits, with the aim of recreating in it the idyllic network of the Old City of the United States that has gone for ever. Sim City inaugurated the computer game trend known as God Games as an escape from life in the city within the Non-city, where the seductive sensation of the omnipotence of he who creates and destroys mixes with the unstoppable voyeurism inherent in the contemporary culture of Big Brother.


Will Wright is the founder of the Maxis world computer programming giant. Wright started designing computer games with the Raid on Bungeling Bay helicopter simulator in 1984. However, being more attracted by the construction of scenarios than by the development of play action, he became involved in an ambitious project of the simulation of urban surroundings known as Sim City, which came onto the market in 1989 to huge success. Subsequently he also worked on The Sims, which became the best-selling computer game of all time.

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