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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Sarah Lockwood at 11:18AM

Blog post written by Sarah Lockwood, Cinema & Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Blairstown, NJ

In order to define microtopias, I believe we must divide the word into two logical halves, toss in a little bit of etymology, then piece it back together again. With a little help from the Online Etymology Dictionary, of course.


Sounds like - microscope, microphone, microchip, microeconomics.

What it derives from - Greek, form of micros, meaning small.


Sounds like - dystopia, utopia, digitopia, topiary.

What it derives from - Greek, topia is plural of topian, meaning a field, which is diminutive of topos, meaning place.

Micro + topia = Small place.

Small places, small worlds, small moments. How and where they exist.

Microtopias are different for each person, which partly embodies their brilliance. True to their etymological origin, the small places human beings create when they express themselves and connect with one another, create microtopias.

However I do pose a question as to the choice of microtopias for FLEFF 2012: the word is not, may I note, microUTOPIAS.

I fear that many who encounter the word microtopias will assume one end of the topia bias, in favor of divine perfection and ephemeral beauty, over the other topia with which intellectuals are familiar - dystopia, which embodies the abnormal, the difficult, the imperfect. 

Rather, topos or topia simply indicates a place - for good or for evil. 

Do you believe this neutral choice was deliberate?

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