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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   |  5 comments

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?


Your dissection and analysis of the word was enlightening -- without so much as a second thought I would have assumed the word mean "small" utopias.

I never thought about breaking the word down like that! Such a great idea!

Do you have a personal definition of the word? What does "microtopias" mean to you?

Very methodical analysis. Very shrew insight. I had not considered that the term microtopia is neutral in relation to the u-topian/ dys-topian distinction. But now that you have pointed it out, I approve wholeheartedly.

Tom...nice observe something I'm not sure I considered, and that is, what happens when the U drops out of this idea.

William (Dad!) and Chloe - I'm glad I gave you a little more/different insight into the word!

Tom - I'm so glad you 'approve' of this analysis, the idea of a topia being 'utopia' or 'dystopia' occurred to me in the middle of writing this!

P. Zimmerman - Thanks!

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