Elizabeth attended Mike's Exhibition, which he titled 'U and Dys'. Here is her report.
Mike’s exhibition was on failed utopias, specifically, how quickly a utopia can become a dystopia. He talked about how everyone has their own versions of a utopia and how fast things can change, even between the generations. Mike gave an example of one failed utopia called the Amana Colonies in Iowa. After a couple of generations the people found that what their ancestors had thought was a utopia was actually dystopia and many of them moved away. Mike also gave an example of a utopia in Indiana that built in its own end: they knew that eventually the later generations would move away, so they didn’t have kids. It was called the Harmony colony and after all the people who had founded it had died the colony was empty. Mike also gave an example of a utopia that is still being built, called Arcosanti in Arizona. He talked about how they are making all the architecture very similar to nature.
Mike’s activity was breaking the group into groups of threes and having them write about how their utopias would be run and what things it would contain by answering these questions, What government would your utopia have and your Utopias view on many things including equality, currency and religion. After we had finished writing out answers down we switched with another group and assessed whether their utopia would be successful or not. We then switched back and had a discussion about other groups utopia and why or why not the utopias would succeed.
Mike's exhibition was the first one I had ever been to and was very excited! Mike's exhibition was very informative and interesting. It was engaging and really made me think about how much work would need to go into making a utopia. The examples he gave were very interesting and I enjoyed learning about them. I enjoyed doing the worksheet, but my group was very invested, and so we did not have enough time to finish. Switching with the others groups was a good idea and it was interesting to compare what a kids’ version of a utopia to what a grown-ups’ version. Overall I found the exhibition interesting and engaging, and a great start to my 8th grade exhibition year!