Horizons of Utopia: From Realism to Abstraction

Master's Thesis


This thesis will discuss three key examples of using the map in my art projects with a focus on the visual representation of utopia and dystopia. These works have all focused on various aspects and usages of maps and of the historical definitions of utopia to varying degrees of success, employing different art formats. I will discuss the characteristics of each project and how it contributes to the practicality of mapping within an art format. The discussed body of artwork focuses on three major schemes: the representation of history in an urban landscape, allegorical representation of utopia, and the metaphor of space. I explore this through built installation, with a particular focus on topography and cartography.

The Horizons of Utopia reflects humanities desire for a better world; the dreamers in all of history fantasize about beautiful places and the ideal island was always a location for their fantasies. I will briefly discuss More’s text, where the utopian island is in the center of hope and desire. The Horizons of Utopia follows island logic in an attempt to visualize utopia and its counterpart dystopia through contemplations on the utopian landscape. I will also discuss historical examples of artistic illustrations of dystopia based on literary texts such as Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and contemporary representations of utopian space in the works of land artists Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer.


Attribute NameValues
Author Elena Smyrniotis
Contributor Maria Tomasula, Committee Member
Contributor Martina Lopez, Committee Member
Contributor Jean Dibble, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History and Design
Degree Name MFA
Defense Date
  • 2017-04-13

Submission Date 2017-04-13
Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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