Crisis\Utopia looks at different realities we are accelerating towards as a result of global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, through a lens of utopian thinking. This pandemic has exposed vast societal inequalities—but equally, it has set the foundation for prominent changes, many of which could lead to a more just global society. Contextualising utopian imagination, Crisis\Utopia weaves together case studies and emerging social trends. Is the world we are currently facing a prototype for utopia? Four narratives become fictional 3D-rendered landscapes centred around different spatial archetypes: the factory, housing, the warehouse, and the streetscape; connected through a central map which references the original Utopia that Thomas More conceptualised in 1516.
Concept Design & Research: Colin Keays
Visual Narratives & Art Direction: Divya Patel
3D Navigation System: Naysan Foroudi
Web Development & Coding: Niek van Sleeuwen
Voice Actors: Anshula Bain, Jack Bardwell, Colin Keays
Open Source Sounds Effects from Zapsplat.com
Crisis-Utopia Research References PDF Link
Utopia Transcripts [Housing, Warehouse, Streetscape, Factory] Text File Link
Aaron Bastani, Fully Automated Luxury Communism (London: Verso, 2018).
Benjamin Weil, “'When This is Over': Utopian Longing and Post-Pandemic Politics,” Medium, May 10, 2020. Link
Daniel Finn, "The Black Death Helped Bring About the Modern World," Jacobin, May 18, 2020. Link
Jack Chadwick, "When the 'Unskilled' become 'Essential,'" Jacobin, May 18, 2020. Link
Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (London: Zeo Books, 2009).
Meagan Day, "No Act of God," Jacobin, May 19, 2020. Link
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (London: Verso, 2015).
Oscar Wilde, "The Soul of Man Under Socialism," Fortnightly Review, February 1891. Link
Richard Conniff, "What The Luddites Really Fought Against," Smithsonian Magazine, March 2011. Link
Thomas More, Utopia (Leuven, 1516). Link
Yasmeen Serhan, "What the Coronavirus Proved About Homelessness," The Atlantic, July 18, 2020. Link
Colin Keays is a spatial designer based between the Netherlands and the UK. His work sits at the intersection of research, curation and critical spatial practice, with a sharp focus on social and political aspects of the built environment. He holds an MA in Contextual Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven (2019) and a BA from the Manchester School of Architecture (2016). He was nominated for the Gijs Bakker Award for excellence in design research. He is currently based at Pension Almonde in Rotterdam, collaborating on research and curatorial projects alongside other freelance and communication work.