A dystopia can be explained as a terrible future scenario of a tyrannical government or an environmental disaster. Otherwise defined as the opposite of a utopia, which in fact are the most desirable conditions for a community to find itself. Many artists and creators alike have depicted dystopian themes to display technological nightmares and waking fears. As our world becomes more modern, the negative effects we experience on a daily basis are displayed to the extremes through dystopian art and the outcome of consequences can seem brutal.
Dystopian worlds are told through many art forms, some worth mentioning are:
George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1949), the novel is a dark tribute to media control and the well-known term big brother is watching you, derived from its content. Also Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, written in 1953 has a powerful message. The novel takes place in 2049 for which we could all hypothetically still experience, these two novels have become classics and definitely a good read!
Brazil (Terry Gilliam 1985) – Official Trailer – YouTube, takes place somewhere in the 20th century where the unclear events of a political war cause terrorists (or your average person) to be fed up with the system. Another good watch is Blade Runner (1982) Official Trailer – YouTube, the film takes place in 2019, where robots are in some ways more human than mankind. Wild Palms Trailer 1993 – YouTube, takes place in 2007 with the motto everything must go, was an attempt at slowly awakening society to a possible future of holograms and isolation. The popular Black Mirror S03E01 (series), is also worth a mention. Similar to today’s world of likes and dislikes, some people do seem to rely on.
Happiness is the story of a rodent’s unrelenting quest for happiness and fulfilment. Music: ‘Habanera’ by Bizet ‘Morning Mood’ by Edvard Grieg, artist’ www.stevecutts.com, and one last mention is LORN – ANVIL [Official Music Video], in the year 2100, in an effort to combat overpopulation, the post mortem social network “Anvil” is released.
So how does one find the bright side of dystopia? especially when it all seems hopeless and the undeniable existence of truths so unlucky.
Whether it be the prediction of a future or the resemblance of our times, dystopian art can be the messenger that some love to hate.
So, let’s be positive…
We can always choose our reaction to art, as in our approach to life. When we get to that point of realising the worst is about to happen, we still have that chance to steer clear into a different direction. We can wake up to a more conscious awareness and be solution oriented instead of problem oriented. We can learn from art and add what we have learned creatively back into our world, recycling the visual and internal experience to find new meaning in our outer surroundings.