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Colored pencil and pen, Bones Gilmore 2018

Social Issue:

The primary issue that our utopia addresses is the disconnect between humans and nature. This disconnect, which has roots in Genesis and man’s dominion over the Earth, has led to various other issues. The idea of private land ownership, along with ideas about dominating, taming, and curating land, has led to the imperialist appropriation of lands. European, especially English, ideas about the “improvement” of land by its human occupants being fundamental to the occupation of that land played a significant role in this. These ideas have also lead to the exploitation and destruction of that land. Furthermore, this attitude toward land dictates to a considerable degree how beings living in close proximity to each other interact, both human and non-human. The idea of owning land removes humans from the fabric of the environment and promotes a negative view of other beings existing on that land. Our utopia addresses these issues through the absence of any land ownership whatsoever. Instead, people live responsibly on the land along with the other beings that live in the environment. Through creating a space that is naturally shared by both humans and non-humans, these issues created by private land ownership are avoided.

Description:

Our utopia aims to address societal trauma caused by the human severance from nature by placing utmost emphasis on nature as a means of sustenance, community, and empowerment. We believe that land and human relationship to the environment plays an integral role in how people interact on both interpersonal and larger political scales. In order to combat environmental racism and social injustices caused by capitalism, this community will prioritize self-sufficiency, artistic craft, queer inclusivity, and a system of commerce/exchange based on communal sharing and gift-giving rather than money. To establish self-sufficiency, the community plans to implement permacultural methods in order to produce food and other resources. Permaculture is a style of cultivation that caters to the natural ecosystem, allowing it to flourish, sustain, and regenerate without extensive human manipulation. This form of agriculture also helps to restore the human relationship to nature because it maintains the agency and holistic capacity of the given environment instead of treating it as simply a means to an end. In the same vein, the community will structure their own habitation around nature, rather than attempting to rewrite the earth by clearing trees and to creating a conventional colonial settlement. They will build their homes in and around the trees and preexisting geography. This may result in buildings that vary in size and purpose. Since architectural set ups won’t necessarily conform to those that try to encompass a set number of functions or occupants, this will draw away from traditional senses of familial containment and isolation, and thus only enhance the interconnectedness and mobility of members of the community. Furthermore, the diy construction of houses and buildings will undermine the barrier between the inside and outside by featuring one-sided windows that blend with the landscape from the outside and provide an ample view to the outdoors from the inside.

Another way that this community will foster a human reconnection to nature is in their utilization of outdoor space. A range of activities, such as education, social congregation/gathering, and work won’t be confined to the indoors, as nature will become a default site in which the community does. Everyone will therefore cultivate a deep knowledge of the local flora and fauna, and be able to navigate the area and effectively derive ingredients for food or medicine. This is another sustainable method in line with one of their central tenets, minimizing waste and reducing/reusing/recycling. Lastly, a large component of their life and culture will be quilt-making and textile arts, as it’s emblematic of their functionality, creativity, practicality, and familial bonds.

Rhythm of Life:

As someone living in this community you could wake up slowly, with the sun. Everyone makes their breakfast and the daily bread – bread that each person makes and shares half of with others. The noise stirs the whole community until eventually everyone is out of their homes, engaging in one of the required activities that drive the community such as farming, cooking, preserving food, or tending to children. Or focusing on their own artistic and academic projects. At night there is a communal dinner gathering where people can discuss, drink, give gifts, or give performances. They go to bed slowly, reading, and surrounded by loved ones.

 

By: Bones Gilmore, Nia Mbaye, River PS, Ty Holtzman

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