UTOPIA & YOUTH
EXPERIMENTATION AND RESEARCH IN CONTEMPORARY
ARTISTIC PRACTICES

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

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.


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.

Objectives

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.

Society
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.

Criticisms

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

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Proposed Bibliography on Youth

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