Urban utopics writing the city in the light of Utopia
ONE OF THE ABUNDANT UNCANNY FEATURES of the Covid-19 lockdowns was the still photography and video footage that emerged of cities deserted, emptied of their ordinary human activities, in broad daylight. While commentary sometimes focused on the potentially positive impact on air quality and the renewed sense of a natural presence taking hold in the urban space – thereby underlining the challenges posed by ‘business as usual’ in a dynamic of permanent activity and expansion – there was also an awareness that here, revealed in an exceptional way, were the infrastructure and decor of the urban phenomena stripped of their human actors.1 The uncanniness of such a revelation was that it showed, at one and the same time, the enabling constructions of ongoing urbanity and interdependence (matters of acute collective awareness in the circumstances) together with an urban world as if after the end of human presence: a prefiguration of post-apocalypse; the ‘day after’ become the day underway.
PublicationLanguage Studies, 2023, 59,(1), pp. 1–17
PublisherOxford University Press
Department or School
- School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics