In SAIC’s Whatnot Studio — As in Life — Utopia is an Impossible, But Ultimately Worthwhile, Pursuit

There’s no such thing as utopia. Coined by Thomas Moore in his 1516 book of the same name, the word "utopia" combines the ancient Greek roots for “not” and “place.” It’s a fiction, a nowhere, or at least a not-here-yet. But its perpetual absence — or deferral — shouldn’t leave us discouraged; its inaccessibility is precisely the point. “Utopia is an impossible ideal,” says designer Pete Oyler, “but one that designers continue to pursue. I think it's a testament to the persistence of the imagination and the ongoing quest for something better.” It was with this in mind that Oyler, along with designer Jonah Takagi, taught this year's Whatnot Studio within the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Designed Objects program.