“Utopia conjures many things for me — it takes me back to writing papers on More at Cambridge when the dead of night would meet the first chink of light in the morning. The pressure cooker. The cycle of it all. The treadmill. I read that book and remembered my father’s idealism and all the chaos that led to. Reading about an impossible dream, a fog, a haze. I knew then, what I know now, that a belief in utopia is a dangerous thing, and I’m a realist.
“It also takes me to Pitcairn — a place shrouded by mystery, perpetuated by distance. Smoke and mirrors. The pot of gold at the end of a rainbow — always out of reach, a bubble due to burst, Icarus flying too close to the sun. The inevitable downfall of expectation. The lie we tell ourselves. utopia, more often than not, rings of dissatisfaction. A relentless quest. An unattainable goal. By definition, utopia cannot be. It’s a lesson – to be careful what you wish for. I’ve visited many places that people dream of, but there is a fine line between a dream and a nightmare – so I try to keep my eyes open.
“Right now, as I am sitting in a flat in London, with the sun streaming through the glass roof, and the relative silence of Hackney penetrating my consciousness, I lust after an adventure, a quest, a search. The stranger danger, the adrenalin rush of a project. Each beginning like a first date, wondering whether you’ll still want to go home with it at the end of a night. My utopia right now is that liminal space between control and chaos, that’s what I wish for. That’s what I crave. The unpredictable nature of a new start. For now, all seems familiar, suffocatingly so.
“This image is of a cliché — a sunset and a horizon. But cliché is cliché for a reason. This was a moment that was beautiful, and still, or rather, where I felt still. My restlessness momentarily quelled. Sometimes I take a picture just for me, and this was one of those. I wanted to remember that feeling, of being where I was meant to be. I sat, on grimy Bombay Beach on the banks of the landlocked Salton Sea in the midst of California’s desert, a place where many dreams had come to die and watched the sun recede.
“And I thought about the possibility, beginnings, endings, little heartbreaks, the thrill of rejection and journey for acceptance. I was starting a new project, and everything was new and fresh and a little dangerous. For now, that’s all on hold, with travel on lockdown, but my utopia would be to be back there, amidst the detritus left by humanity, navigating the dregs, finding my place. Searching for that mysterious ‘something’ that is just out of reach — like this swing set at sea — that grain of bizarre, the ellipsis between logic and feeling.
“That’s when I feel new, reborn. And that’s what I’m missing, as right now I’m just holding my breath.”