Join us in using play to design a utopian economy by coming to play Utopoly at Furtherfield Commons.
Utopoly is a tool for inquiry, reflection and idea generation. Its purpose is to generate alternatives to the neoliberal orthodoxy and address the social and ecological crises it creates. It uses a game as utopian practice to critique the state of society and engage in speculation about how to shape the future. Through improvisational play Utopoly provides that rare space for people to re-imagine society, where values, forms of exchange and social relations can be reconsidered and reconfigured. Players then interact with and evaluate the alternative social and political spaces that emerge.
Utopoly starts with a Future Workshop, a method developed by Robert Jungk in 1962 to re-engage people’s innate creative genius which had been suppressed by school, work and consumerism. This involves separate stages of critique, fantasy and implementation. It starts with a discussion and critical exploration around a selected topic or situation. Players critically engage with the now or what-has-become to then open up space for the future or the what-is-yet-to-become. They create fantasies of a utopian nature unconstrained by whether they can be realized or not. Desires, ideas, alternative values, attributes and features of a utopian future are discussed. Moving from the limits of knowing to the possibilities of the yet-to-be-known. This is the political space where the future is open and crucially not a continuation of the present.
The implementation stage involves a ‘hack’ of Monopoly, a popular game which in its original form in 1904 had a progressive and beneficial informative function, but now celebrates and normalises competitive accumulation and socially useless rentier behaviour.
Players discuss and decide which of the features of a utopian future they want represented in the game Utopoly. They determine how the new economy works and – by introducing alternative values, currencies and transactions – can inspire new ways of considering existing social norms. Players then collaborate in a contest against the prevailing crises bound by the neoliberal agenda.
By playing Utopoly participants have the opportunity to reflect on alternative realities and social relations. They can navigate and negotiate the various game features and experience what it is like to inhabit a world incorporating the new economic and social possibilities they have created. In addition, by providing a platform for beneficial expectations Utopoly cultivates the ‘education of desire’ for a better world.
Further information about Utopoly can be found in the following articles: