Unit Project Resource: The Psychogeography of Utopia

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Unit Project Resource: The Psychogeography of Utopia

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:20 am

For our unit project, each student will plot out their own nation (utopia or dystopia) on a collaborative map. We will use principles of symbolism and psychogeography in our map-making. Very simply, that means the way we draw our maps (the kind of symbols and forms) will suggest the themes of our societies.

Pychogeography (psych: mind; geo: earth; graphy: picture) is about how the way we use the space and structures around us influences and reflects our interior lives, and vice versa. It wanted to encourage people to find new and vibrant ways of engaging with cities, and construct better cities in harmony with the creative and passionate needs of human life. Psychogeography was first introduced by Guy DeBord of the Situationist International group of artists and thinkers. An informative article can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychogeography

Symbolism is the creative practise of depicting meaning by the use of imagery and representation. In the context of our project, think of it as something like metaphor or poetry that uses visual tropes instead of text.

You may want to sketch out your nation before putting it on the collective map. Whether you choose to create a utopia or a dystopia, your choice of symbols, form, colour, and design should reflect the themes and motifs of your society.

Think of all of the strata and divisions of society that a nation encompasses. Some districts you may want to consider include agricultural, industrial, residential, and commercial. What is the layout of the roads (or, if you don't have standard roads, how do people get from place to place)? What is the population density like in different areas? Are there natural features such as mountains, rivers, or forests (and are these pristine or exploited)? What's its infrastructure (electricity, water, etc) like? What kind of native flora and fauna does your land have?

Once you've created your individual nation, consider its position in relation to other lands. Does it have trade routes? An active military? Walls to keep out intruders? Other features? Include these relationships on the map.

Please be creative. Your nation does not need to mirror any extant nation, or rely upon current technology. However, you must be prepared to textually justify and describe your nation, its infrastructure, its culture, and its people.

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