Mapping Utopias: From New Babylon to Black Rock City

Anna Novakov


New Utopian plans for liberated urban spaces emerged during the post-war era with the work of the Lettrist (LI), Situationist International (SI), and specifically Constant Nieuwenhuys, a Dutch painter turned architect and sculptor who understood urban planning as intimately linked to nomadism, play and creativity. Influenced by the bombed detritus of European capitals and the possibilities of new technology, Constant’s plans for a future society were post-revolutionary, with unseen automated factory production and spaces for innovation that were elevated on stilts. Constant’s conflicting ideas are referenced and emulated in Black Rock City – a short-term encampment erected every year for the Burning Man festival in the desert of Nevada. These multileveled zones would allow for the blurring of public and private space as well as zones of work and leisure.


Article received: December 12, 2016; Article accepted: January 10, 2017; Published online: Aprile 20, 2017

Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Novakov, Anna. "Mapping Utopias: From New Babylon to Black Rock City." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 12 (2017): 9-16. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i12.163


Utopia, metropolis, nomadism, play, spectacle

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