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Opolis and Drawing Urban Futures
Alex Steffen, 24 Jun 06

There are many different ways of portraying possible futures, and as we move towards building bright green neighborhoods, we'll need to employ them all to share ideas of how our communities might be improved.

Not all are high-tech. Opolis: a Comix Flucture is an art show opening tonight at Flux Factory, centered on a brilliant idea -- having artists create together a representation of the life of a neighborhood:

A street plan of Opolis, an imaginary city, has been laid out on the floor of the Flux main space. Individual city blocks have been claimed by individual artists. They have designed the buildings and environments that fill the city blocks (apartment buildings, libraries, factories, parks, junkyards, skyscrapers, bars, office buildings, theaters, etc), and have invented characters to populate these environments. The artists have created the work in such a way that as the viewer walks around the block, the buildings (or images in or on the buildings) function as comic strip panels that resolve into a story.

There's nothing particularly worldchanging about the storylines of the comics in Opolis, but it's still a terrific reminder that when it comes to sharing ideas about people's lives, well-constructed stories and images will trump abstractions every time, and that the means used to construct those stories needn't be complicated or expensive. Take another look, for instance, at the RentAThing presentation done with lego figures. (There is, of course, a time and place for precision, modeling and finely-honed abstractions, as well.)

If anyone goes to the show and comes away with some photos, I'd love to see them: you can leave a Flickr URL in the comments.

(Artwork: Gregory Benton. Link: Juan Freire)

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This is really cool, as is flux factory itself. A friend of mine used to live there. Cheap rent for artists is always good...not least because artists make things people feel permission to feel passion about, which is often a step in the right direction in all kinds of ways.

Posted by: maria on 24 Jun 06

Actually, they're playmobil figures, not lego. =)

Posted by: Dave Chiu on 5 Jul 06



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