Cult of the Week: Utopia, at the Roundabout

On Utopia, The Roundabout, Camden

utopia
utopia

The central installation could somehow be impressive, if backed up by the rest.  It wants to be inspiring, but lacks depth and flavour.  It has not layers.  It has not texture.  It contains no innovation.  There is a sense of self that doesn’t correspond with what it projects.  Like an idea discussed at 4am in the last straws of a party, that astonishes everyone with its brilliance and enlightenment, but that no one manages to recreate next morning when clumsily attempting to put it together after having forgotten what was it that they were going to achieve, something about changing the world and making the need for money disappear.  It moans but it offers no answers and no solutions, just deja vu 60’s politics and prejudices.  It ends up being superficial and terribly amateurish.  The clamour of liberalism is engulfed by the singing of the sponsoring and you end up confused about what colour is endorsing.

There is a lot about bad teens chasing good teens to beat them senseless.  Don’t get me wrong, there were a few hair pullings, bitings and slapping in my time, but we feared the adults, not kids of the same age.  Or maybe I was one of the bad teens, go figure.  I just went away with the feeling that parents don’t discipline their children enough, so they have to beat the living shit out of each other.  The sound design lets voices mixing with each other as despite so much empty space, it has been crammed up in a very small space.

I like how you get to imagine the lives of the factory workers, and how the pieces come together, with the items on the desk, the writing, the voice, the little clues… But it is nonetheless meaningless, like some stuff has been put together at the last minute, or like several texts have been distributed to a classroom divided in groups, together with a box of random items and told them they had 40 minutes to interpret the text by using the tools (they pretentiously call them props) in the box.  So the students waste 30 minutes gossiping and sneaking to the toilet for fags and texting.  Which is not too bad to justify money invested in education, but, I mean, seriously, having to pay for it?

Such a waste of the big screens.  Where to start?  Such bad coordination.  It doesn’t feel like they are reading from the original book.  It feels more like a bunch of squatters justifying not being evicted from a Mayfair mansion.

The program shows some of the work done by the other artists, which is appealing, but not reflected in Utopia. It took two years to put this together.  What did the team do with the time, I wonder, other than living off the sponsorship money?  I guess Utopia is not just an allegory of how big bankers live, but how so called artist sponsored by big companies live.

GEF

 

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