Designing the future: Clarifying dystopian and post apocalyptic

Designs of the future can be divided into utopian or dystopian in their  underpinning conception. The surface design tends to fall into a limited set of styles, defined as futurism, retro futurism, realism, gothic and post apocalyptic” (BARNWELL, J., 2004: pg 100)

I have already looked at some futurism art references so I will now turn my attentions to post apocalyptic futures and what dystopian actually means in terms of society, film and literature.

When dealing with film and fiction, dystopia and post apocalyptic are usually categorised as separate types of film although some stories encompass both situations.

Dystopian:- The antithesis of utopian: figuring a nightmarish world in which rational impulses to engineer society back-fire dangerously. (KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000)

dys·to·pi·a

noun

a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.(online. available at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dystopian?s=t  [sourced on 21/12/2013]
So looking at recent films I can start to clarify what films are classed as dystopian:-
min rep
Minority Report (2002) Picture and budget courtesy of IMDb.com  :-
In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181689/
Production Designer:- Alex McDowell
Director:- Steven Spielberg

Budget:

$102,000,000               (estimated)

Utopian:- An imaginary state of ideal harmony and perfection derived from Thomas More’s Utopia (1516).  (KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000) For the purposes of comparison.

Post apocalyptic:-

a·poc·a·lyp·tic

adjective

1.

of or like an apocalypse; affording a revelation or prophecy.
2.

pertaining to the Apocalypse or biblical book of Revelation.
3.

predicting or presaging imminent disaster and total or universal destruction: the apocalyptic vision of some contemporary writers.
(online. available at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/post-apocalyptic?s=t [sourced on 21/12/2013]
So anything set after  apocalyptic events such as large-scale environmental disasters, widespread viruses, biblical events, wars etc. Living in the after times is termed as post apocalyptic.
the road
The Road (2009) picture and information  courtesy of IMDb.com
A post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his son trying to survive by any means possible. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898367/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Production Designer:- Chris Kennedy
Director:- John Hillcoat

Budget:

$25,000,000               (estimated)

The films and books are often categorised together as there is often a cross over of ideas, situations or causes. The same audiences or readers are drawn to both kind of stories as seen in on-line book groups such as Apocalypse Whenever found at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/967-apocalypse-whenever. Both types of story are generally about forms of survival.
What I will be looking at as part of my research is the audience/social context  through engaging with fans of the genre but also as a designer thinking about such questions as:- Are there differences between the two strands of dystopian and post apocalyptic stories in terms of design? Do they present the same problems in terms of budget and approach?
At first glance at the two example films above, there does seem to be quite a difference between the size of budgets. I will look at this in more detail in future research.
References:- BARNWELL, J., 2004. Production design: Architects of the Screen. London, New York: Wallflower
                        KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000. Science Fiction cinema: From Outerspace to Cyberspace. London:
                        Wallflower
                        Online sources :- https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/967-apocalypse-whenever
                                                        www.IMDb.com
                                                        http://dictionary.reference.com [All sourced on 21/12/2013]
Categories: Dystopian and post-apocalyptic philosophy, dystopian film and designers, post-apocalyptic film and design | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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