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(Im)perfection Subverted, Reloaded and Networked: Utopian Discourse across Media

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Edited By Barbara Klonowska, Zofi Kolbuszewska and Grzegorz Maziarczyk

This study explores various intersections between the traditional utopian discourse and such media as music, comic books, TV series, feature films, documentaries, fan fiction, computer games and web projects, bringing to focus the transformative role of the media used for the presentation and implementation of utopian projects. It shows both the variety of forms of expression of utopian impulses and the relocation and reinterpretation of utopia in the contemporary culture of convergence.
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Artur Blaim: “Nowhere Plans for Nobody”: Constructing Utopia in Popular Music

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“Nowhere plans for nobody”: Constructing Utopia in Popular Music

ARTUR BLAIM

I am not so stupid as to have preferred to use those barbarous and meaningless names, Utopia, Anydrus, Amaurotum and Ademus.

Thomas More

As far as can be ascertained, utopia made its first appearance in popular music as part of the name of an obscure doo-wop duo called Mike and the Utopians in 1958. Since then, it has often been used not only in group names but also in album and song titles: the All Music Guide lists over 60 groups ranging from straight-forward Utopia to Fragile Utopia, Utopia Judgment, Utopia Banished, Former Utopia, Flux Utopia, Entropical Utopia, Utopia Research, Bleeding Utopia, Utopia Factory, Utopian Hedonism, Utopic Sporadic Orchestra, Banned from Utopia, and Training for Utopia, with over 220 albums and more than 4,000 songs referring to utopia in their titles.1 Occasionally, as in the case of an Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia, such references are more sophisticated, testifying to some knowledge of the genre, as evident from the album’s title, The River of Anyder (2011) and some of the tracks (“Bensalem,” “Return to Bensalem,” and “Nowhere Song”), even though it would not be easy to semanticise the sounds constituting these compositions, despite the artist’s commentary and quotations from Utopia and New Atlantis included in the ← 29 | 30 → enclosed booklet.2 Other examples of jazz musicians’ use of the name Utopia include Stan Getz’s Utopia (1978), Mal Waldron’s Quadrologue at Utopia...

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