Jessica Korderas

Utopia

2014

The word ‘Utopia’ was coined by Thomas More in his 1516 novel of the same name, describing an idealised futuristic world. Though More portrays his Utopia as a perfect society, his novel is laced with irony, playing on the literal meaning of the word. The etymology comes from the Greek ‘uo’ meaning ‘no’ and ‘topia’ meaning ‘place’ – or in other words ‘nowhere’. Over the centuries, the double meaning has been lost, ironically leaving only the idea of a perfect society. The complexity of ‘utopia’ is the inspiration for this new body of work. Ultimately, how we perceive, pursue, and understand happiness is the root of utopian themes and what makes them so interesting.

For this exhibition, I created a world that reflects and examines human desires, goals, fears, and failures and how individual ideals are force to coexist in one society, often at odds with one another. What if one person’s ‘utopia’ is another’s ‘dystopia’? The buildings were created to exist in one ‘utopian’ world of my creation, though looking more ‘dystopian’ on first look. These are coupled with drawings inspired by my participation in a residency in Detroit, which was once the epitome of American industrial success but has recently fallen into shocking decline. These drawings take the ‘blight’ of the abandoned buildings and focus more of the possibility for regrowth through the return of nature to the city.