Paolo Soleri, architect, philosopher, and a citizen of the planet. Fans have gone as far as to compare him to DaVinci and Gandhi, but critics believed him to be an ego-driven eccentric with a failed experiment out in the desert. A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Soleri's utopian vision was steadfast: urban sprawl is destroying the planet and the answer is to build mega-structure cities a hundred times the size of the Empire State Building. This film explores the artist, the dreamer, the philosopher, the architect Paolo Soleri as he tried to build his new world filled with futuristic ideas and controversy.
Screening before the film:
SOUL CITY, USA is a documentary short that tells the story of a group of civil rights activists and city slickers who attempt to build a multiracial utopia in the heart of Klan Country, North Carolina, in the 1970s. Their pioneering efforts to jumpstart this black-owned, black-built town run up against tenacious enemies that still face idealists and dreamers today: ingrained racism, public skepticism, and unwillingness on the part of the government to think outside the box to solve social problems. As this group of dreamers try to bring together unlikely allies to support black power and economic development, they are forced to balance their soaring idealism with the hostile reality of the times.
Part of the Real Utopias Film Series from the Miami-Dade College's Museum of Art and Design
The film series Real Utopias features a selection of documentaries and film essays that examine past and current experiments in our collective search for freedom, equality, and democracy. Real Utopias investigates alternative ways in which urban living has been, and can be, designed, from a call to non-violence (Everyday Rebellion: “democracy is like love, you have to make it”) to architects’ futuristic visions (Paolo Soleri: Citizen of the Planet and Jacque Fresco in Future My Love) to utopian urban experiments of the past (The Experimental City; Soul City, USA; New Town Utopia; Brasilia: Life After Design) to a rare look at a post-capitalist, modern-day utopian Europe (Paths Through Utopia).
Real Utopias accompanies MOAD’s A City of the People series, which will take place at multiple locations throughout Miami from April to December of this year. A City of the People will feature a wide range of art experiences, screenings, readings, and public programs that explore what it means to exist in, and as, an urban community.
The curator of the Real Utopias Film Series is Konstantia Kontaxis, Associate Dean of Research and Director of the Center for Communication, Culture and Change at the University of Miami School of Communication.