The transformation of utopia under capitalist modernity

<a href="http://wp.me/pgGDG-18">The transformation of utopia under capitalist modernity</a>

The Charnel-House

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IMAGE: Ivan Leonidov’s
City of the Sun (1940s)

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Utopianism has always involved the imagination of a better world, a perfected society set against the imperfect society of the present. Whether as an object of speculative philosophical reflection, a practical program for social transformation, or an idle daydream, utopia has always evinced the hope that reality might be made ideal.

Underneath this general rubric, however, “utopia” can be seen to signify several related but distinct things. The term is commonly used to refer to that literary genre, deriving its name from Thomas More’s eponymous Utopia, which depicts various “ideal commonwealths.” Beyond this meaning, many commentators have identified these literary utopias as belonging to a broader impulse that exists within the very structure of human experience, of which they are but one expression.[1] Karl Mannheim, for example, described utopianism as a mentalité, writing that “[a] state…

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Il’ia Chashnik, revolutionary suprematist (1902-1929)

<a href="http://wp.me/pgGDG-5BH">Il’ia Chashnik, revolutionary suprematist (1902-1929)</a>

The Charnel-House

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Il’ia Grigorievich Chashnik was born to an unremarkable Jewish family in Lyucite, Latvia on June 20, 1902. He spent most of his childhood in Vitebsk, leaving school at the age of eleven to work in a small watchmaking workshop.

From 1917 to 1919, Chashnik studied art with the local artist Iurii (Yehuda) Pen before moving to Moscow in 1919 to attend the newly-opened VKhUTEMAS [Higher State Art and Technical Studios]. Just a few months later, however, he transferred to the Vitebsk Art Institute in order to study under the Russian-Jewish folk painter and avant-gardist Marc Chagall. Soon he became enamored of the work of Kazimir Malevich, the mastermind of Suprematism. Malevich also happened to teach at the Institute, before receiving a promotion and taking it over during the winter of 1919-1920. El Lissitzky also mentored Chashnik briefly before departing to Western Europe.

Once his apprenticeship under Malevich began, Chashnik’s paintings underwent a radical…

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Dressing for Travel

texthistory

This is from the Virginia Gazette, 8 June 1769 showing how people tried to transport money in safety. Or perhaps this was a lifestyle choice.

“Bristol, May 17. A few nights ago among the passengers that were gong in the large stage from Bath to London, were two supposed females, that had taken outside places; and as they were going to their birth, it was observed that one of them had mens shoes and stockings on, and upon further search the breeches were discovered also. This consequently alarming the company, the person was ‘taken into custody, and confined that night; next day he was had before a proper magistrate, and upon a strict examination into matters, it appeared that he was a reputable tradesman of a neighbouring town; and having cash and bills to a considerable amount, thus disguised himself in womens apparel, to escape the too civil notice of…

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History of Capitalism

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History of Capitalism

In 2013, 

“Markets and financial institutions ‘were created by people making particular choices at particular historical moments,’ said Julia Ott.”  (In History Departments, It’s Up With Capitalism).  This forms the major focus of the new history of capitalism, which incidentally helps to denaturalize the market.