Political Scientists

utopia project 2010: info

“Utopia project” is an annual summer workshop organized by the Athens School of Fine Arts in Rethymno Crete.”

Athens School of Fine Arts


V. Vlastaras, artist, Lecturer, ASFA and M. Glyka, visual artist, teacher BA & MA Vakalo college of Art and Design.

Basic timetable:

4 July: arrivals

5 July – 7 July: artists presentations

8 – 20 July: preparation of the work

21-23 July: show and presentations of final works

24 July: end of show – departures

Number of participants: 14

In collaboration with:

Mr. Gary Woodley, artist and lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

Mr. Klaas Hoek, artist, head of the postgraduate department of University of Utrecht and head of the printmaking of the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

This year project:


Based on H.D. Thoreau’s “Walden


General Information


Athens School of Fine Arts offers an annual summer residency program under the title Utopia Project for postgraduate or recent graduates artists who intend to collaborate with experienced artists, theorists and political scientists in order to explore, under a different every year theme, artistic practices and theoretical approaches in the contemporary society.

Participants join the project in workshops, lectures, group and individual tutorials and critiques and leave the residency with input on new project plans organized accordingly each year’s theme. Artists attend the program to get a creative surge, get a fresh perspective on their work, revitalize their practice, take their work in a new direction, make plans for a focused praxis and to become part of an international community of artists, theorists and curators.


Utopia Project has started by the initiative of two artists. Vassilis Vlastaras, visual artist and lecturer in the Athens School of Fine Arts and Maria Glyka, visual artist and teacher in the Ba and Ma Program of Vakalo College of Art and Design. The workshop is organized by the Athens School of Fine Arts and it is taking part every July in the Asfa annex in Rethymno Crete. The first Utopia Project was held in 2006 in Rethymno under the title “Utopia as an Island” with an international body of 15 participants, guests and faculty. That was followed by “Utopia and Violence” in 2007, “Utopia and Praxis: May68-May08” in 2008, “Utopia and Youth” in 2009. This year it runs under the title “Utopia and Nature, based on H.D. Thoreau’s “Walden”. By now the whole body of participants guests artists, theorists counts over the number of eighty people.


In this a-disciplinary program, students are free to pursue work in any art-related genre and to create their own course of study, working independently and with the support of the the coordinating and guest artists and theorists.


The workshop is intended to lift the boundaries between fine arts, traditional and new media, artists and theorists. It aims to create a space for participants of all disciplines to interact with a wide range of artists, scientists, theorists, media practitioners and visionaries and provoke them to investigate their work independently and transdisciplinarily in both a cultural and studio context according to the year’s subject.


Utopia Project is an international program organized by Asfa. The residencies take place in the annex of Asfa in Rethyno Crete every July for about 20 days. Asfa provides a range of accommodation listings and arranges a special group rate at a student hotel each summer as well as student travel and city guides.

Participants make their own arrangements for travel from their country of origin to Crete. Nevertheless accommodation in shared rooms, basic meals and basic materials are provided by Asfa. The annex is uniquely placed on the top of Evligias Hill in Rethymno, 15 min walk from the center of the old historical town. Daily bus schedule links Rethymno to the airports of Chania and Heraklio.


The whole part of the workshop takes place in English. Many languages are spoken but talks, critiques and lectures all take place in English. Participants must have a good command of spoken English.

Facilities, Equipment and Resources

Inside and outside working spaces for making or install art work, workshop and computer stations with scanner and printer and WiFi access fulfill the residency needs.


Each year, artists create art projects (paintings, film or videos, installations, performances, photographs, etc. Participants’ exhibit or present documentation of their final art and research projects in the exhibition space inside the site.  Through discussions they gain the critical, technological, and aesthetic experiences from the guest artists and theorists. The last week beside concluding their final personal work they are expected to take part on the organization and realization of a small publication that presents the group’s idea of each year’s subject.

Community Alumni

Past years’ participants continue to take part in residencies by giving and receiving critiques, exhibiting, as program advisors, and as guests of the Utopia Project.

via utopia project 2010: info.

Artist Commission: Amy Franceschini/Myriel Milicevic – Loughborough University Arts

Beneath the Pavement: A Garden is a project that considers biological forms in relation to political and social systems. It looks at the potential of a small plot of land on the Loughborough University campus to tell social and political stories, deconstructing systems, propagating them and watching them grow.

We often inform our economics, architecture, political structures and artwork with systems of nature. What happens if we re-impose these interpretations back onto nature or have them assume roles based on interpretations of these systems?

Launching the project, a three day workshop offered participants the opportunity to collectively debate, design and create edible landscapes based on political systems. With contributions from a diverse range of artists, academics and environmentalists, these discussions informed how the plot is re-invented; creating a site for exchange and production around issues relating to the local and global food economy.

Over subsequent months the garden will act as a meeting place, as participants help tend the land and see this newly created garden grow and thrive.

Across the 3 day workshop participants collectively debated, designed and created edible landscapes based on political systems. These conversations included contributions from political scientists and theorists, local policy makers, sociologists, ecologists and urban planners.

On the first day there was a tour of local food producers and distribution networks, and meetings with key politicians and environmentalists.  On the second day there was a number of workshops and presentations by academics and campaigners whose work is centred around creating or advocating for a more sustainable future.  The final day was taken up with deciding how the piece of land would be cultivated, and included elements of garden design, mapping the layout and content of the space.

Amy Franceschini (USA) and Myriel Milicevic (Germany) have been working together since 2004. They are drawn together under a common interest in how humans interact with the environment around them. They often use highly interactive workshop environments to play out scenarios of social and political significance.  www.futurefarmers.com

via Artist Commission: Amy Franceschini/Myriel Milicevic – Loughborough University Arts.