The ‘Utopia II’ conference is being organised by the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC) and coincides with the exhibition at the Royal Academy ‘Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935’. The conference will take place on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November 2011 in the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre at The Courtauld Institute of Art. This event is being organised by Professor John Milner and Drs Maria Kokkori and Maria Mileeva.
The utopian intellectual tradition has a long history that some trace back to Plato’s Republic, even though most scholars consider Thomas More’s Utopia as the definitive starting point of modern utopian thought in the Western world. Utopia comes from the Greek ου (no) and τóπος (place) and implies both the no place and the (eutopos) good place; the not-yet and the possible, the nothing and the perfection.
Utopias conveyed as a transformation, are entrenched in the culture and time in which they have emerged. Utopia and Utopianism in Russian art and culture vary from concrete images of a better place to abstract notions of a future state of freedom; they also range from spatial to temporal models. Utopian ideas in Russia were defined not as ideas in direct opposition to reality, but as objects of potential historical realisation.
Following the conference on Saturday, the Royal Academy will host a special reception that will allow everyone from the conference to see the show.