Utopian Council

24/06/2016 - 26/06/2016
Somerset House Utopian Fair , Utopian Living

Working with archival research group My Future York, we created a table top interactive display for Somerset House’s Utopia Fair. The display was inspired by research on living in Hungate, York and the formal exchange and correspondence between residents and the council in the 19th century.

The Utopian Council of 2066 invited people to write letters to the Council sharing their hopes for the future. They were written as letters of appreciation and offers of contribution to the council and community in 2066, for example, thanking us for the community allotment which supports a shared kitchen in their apartment block and to pledge their support for running the kitchen. This future Council would be founded on utopian principles, taking account of people’s collective desires or fears and thinking beyond only what is ‘possible’ in the language of development and planning.

We designed and created Utopian Council forms and a post office where your letter was stamped and given a receipt. You then received a reply in the post from the utopian council. The installation was created in response to the research group exploring the history of social housing in York, taking inspiration from letters to the council in the past, we created a playful approach for discussing issues of the future.