Framing Utopia: Following Warren & Mosley From Urban Site to Textual Practice (and Back Again)

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This article concerns interconnected works by artists Sophie Warren and Jonathan Mosley, with various collaborators: Planning for Utopia (2007–8), Beyond Utopia (2012), and Utopian Talk-Show (2012–14). It follows their initial proposal to construct an open timber framework tower on a small site near Smithfield Market in London. Discussions with the planning authority there faltered in 2008. In 2012, aspects of the initial project were revisited as a collectively authored, polyphonic book, and follow-on instruction-based performance piece. The article will focus on how an initial desire to challenge accepted uses and values of
city space was transposed from a real urban situation into the multiple sites of textual practice, and how the relationships between representational space, utopia and reality were put into play. Maintaining an explicit conversation with utopic conceits and motifs, these projects test how far an extended critical spatial practice might develop within the specifics of a given urban situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-194
JournalJournal of Urban Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2024


  • Warren & Mosley
  • Utopia
  • Pagework
  • Dissensus
  • Heights Policy
  • Planning Authority


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