Twenty years from now is 2031. That year is not Utopia or Oblivion, it’s not made of sci-fi hologrammed tinsel; it’s just another year among many, and most of its working parts are already scattered around. Like any other year, it offers novelties, but also huge absences. 1991 had many thriving elements denied to 2031. Film cameras. Newspapers. Bookshops. Print magazines that were simply, entirely and utterly print. National analogue broadcast television networks. Young people.
For Mason, all this is also pretty clearly manifested in this year’s most iconic archetype: the tent community which springs up in the midst of the city, usually home to the flickering blue light of laptops and the incessant hubbub of intense conversation. “One thing that there has been in common between the Arab spring and the European and American events is this drive – which is almost pathological – to secure space, and live in it,” he says. “In one sense, it’s a meme … and I think it does satisfy a desire. Once you’ve lived and experienced this sort of spontaneous, communal, utopian sort of existence online, which is what you do if you’re a net-savvy young kid … well, put it this way: if you were to ask yourself, what is the real-world equivalent of being in a 200-strong World Of Warcraft horde? It’s probably sitting in a square, in a tent.”
Today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business. Every artistic or moral aspiration — music, food, good works, what have you — is expressed in those terms.
The small business is the idealized social form of our time. Our culture hero is not the artist or reformer, not the saint or scientist, but the entrepreneur. (Think of Steve Jobs, our new deity.) Autonomy, adventure, imagination: entrepreneurship comprehends all this and more for us. The characteristic art form of our age may be the business plan.
On a Tumblr, every kind of memory could be collected and streamed, linked, as so many of the “f*** yeah” genre are, by a single word. Vintage ads and color samples, quotes from literature and scenes from movies, new product, old furniture, cleaning tips and housewives’ economiums. All these things would sit easily next to each other (and, I believe, attract a larger following) on Tumblr. A book seemed like it might be just another vanity production, dead and not living a second life of likes and reblogs and potential new fans. A Tumblr seemed generative, and potentially creative. It only took me two years, but I felt like I was finally thinking in Tumblr.
What I’m most drawn to about the show is its spectacular range of high imagination. It’s not the naïve, kitsch-fated imagination that we now associate with the heyday of the World’s Fair (or with its contemporary descendant, the trade show). It’s the kind of imagination that provokes, entertains, subverts, amuses, and changes the way the viewer thinks not just about the future, but about the present. Best of all, many of these objects express narratives and critiques—often at the same time—that transcend the bounds of the plausible, by design.
“”In science and technology, the Victorians invented the modern idea of invention — the notion that one could create solutions to problems, that man can create new means of bettering himself and his environment.” “
1) “The more potential a given event has to change the future, the more difficult that event would be to change. If you wanted to go back and speak to somebody on a street corner so that they were five minutes late to an appointment-that might not be too hard. But if you wanted to stop the assassination of a president, that would be really difficult. The past would try to protect itself.”
2) “Every time you go back and change something, you create an alternate timeline. There are these guardians who stand watch over all the time portals, because they understand that whenever you go back, you damage the time-space continuum.”
3) “The further back you go, the more precautions you have to take. It would go right to the language-you’d have to be careful about the way you speak; the accents would be different. If you were to return to, say, 1858, you’d really have to prepare ahead of time.”
“All over the country, police switched out their traditional uniforms for Battle Dress Uniforms, dubbed by one retired policeman in the Washington Post as “commando-chic” regalia. It wouldn’t be surprising to find that swaggering around armed to the teeth and dressed like RoboCop might lead some cops to adopt a more militaristic attitude.”—Militarising the police from Oakland to NYC - Opinion - Al Jazeera English (via iamdanw)
AB:A number of interviewers have asked about your use of Twitter in Zero History, but I’m more interested in the Gabriel Hounds line, which is this very high quality, very rare brand of denim clothing. Like Cayce’s Buzz Rickson jacket in Pattern Recognition, it’s an almost fetishized revisiting of an older fashion, an older technology, yet still highly functional in addition to being cool. Is this how nostalgia plays out in an increasingly atemporal culture?
WG:That stuff is all very literally real, and I watch it playing out in our culture. I don’t know what it means, but I find it poignant, and admire and am friends with some people who do it. My friend Kiya, in San Francisco, will sell you a pair of $600 jeans, but only if you really want them. If you ask him why they cost that much, he’ll probably shrug and tell you you don’t need them. And his clientele isn’t particularly wealthy. Passionate, in a way. But I don’t see it as nostalgia, which I assume ordinarily to be the conservative modality. It’s about pushing back at the shabbiness of simulacra, maybe. Kind of a William Morris move for the 21st Century.
Organisers of last week’s huge illegal rave in London say the phenomenon is driven by the lawlessness of the web and the politics of opposition
For some observers, last Saturday’s scenes evoked memories of the second summer of love – the tide of rave culture that swept Britain from 1988 into the early 90s. They recognised similarities in the context – an enduring recession, and a Tory government committed to rolling back the state.
The final results are paper representations of digital representations of real objects, including all the flaws that copying entails. The truly interesting and unexpected moment for this project was when we put the objects outside to take photos for the documentation. On the pictures, the objects give a bizarre, almost photoshop like impression, which we attributed to the fact that they had been modeled after a real object. Now they somewhat visually collided with their origins and produce the mentioned effect. In fact it was so strong that some didn’t believe they were physical objects at all when captured on a photo.
Medicare, Social Security, retirement, Alzheimer’s, snowbird economies, the population boom, the golfing boom, the cosmetic-surgery boom, the nostalgia boom, the recreational-vehicle boom, Viagra - increasing longevity is entangled in every one.
“the centrality of ubiquitous computing’s ‘‘proximate future’’ continually places its achievements out of reach, while simultaneously blinding us to current practice. By focusing on the future just around the corner, ubiquitous computing renders contemporary practice (at outside of research sites and ‘‘living labs’’), by definition, irrelevant or at the very least already outmoded. Arguably, though, ubiquitous computing is already here; it simply has not taken the form that we originally envisaged and continue to conjure in our visions of tomorrow.”—via Yesterday’s tomorrows: notes on ubiquitous computing’s dominant vision
“A society is being built in Liberty Plaza and in the network of affiliated sites around the world: a model of how to live, both in microcosm and in macrocosm. In this context, simple spatial decisions, like whether to meet the demands of cold weather with clusters of smaller, individual tents or with larger, collective “dwellings,” acquire a symbolic resonance. Old, historical patterns, like the alternative-lifestyle homesteading popular in the 1960s, tend to recur. But at Liberty Plaza, as in society at large, the architectural question on the table is not only about survival — how to live, how to occupy, how to shelter under adverse conditions — but also about how to live together in public. We can call this the housing question.”—Occupy: What Architecture Can Do: Places: Design Observer (via iamdanw)
“The world of tomorrow has usually been imagined first and foremost as a place — the new Promised Land, the millennial landscape. And architecture, cast since the Enlightenment as the calling card for cultural and technological periods in the grand narrative of human development and progress, has always been one of the future’s most revealing and recognizable features”—Building Expectation: Past and Present Visions of the Architectural Future
Famously, that first implosion was dubbed the ‘Death of Modernism’ by Charles Jencks. Almost all traces of the sites life as a huge housing scheme have been erased. It is now a forest – a surreal and unsettling landscape that has grown out of the debris dumped on the site from other demolitions.
Pruitt Igoe is the site of a studio I’m running at UIC this semester. It takes Pruitt Igoe both as a site of architectural rhetoric and as a place of real facts on the ground. From these two perspectives, we hope to imagine alternatives to Pruitt Igoes past and its future – practical proposals that also serve to re-write the apparent inevitability of architectures historical narrative.
At the site of C-15 Implosion (AKA the site of the ‘Death of Modernism’)
The James Bond Villain is a manifestation of a paranoid cold war society, an imaginary enemy; the Villain who might bomb or use any other technocratic weapon to destroy western society. Since 1962 until 2010, 22 James Bond movies were created over a span of 48 years. Even after the Cold War was declared over, James Bond movies have remained a veritable catalogue of Cold War villains. Despite this retrospective compulsion, the genre has consistently used the language of modern architecture to visualize future built conditions.
“The most dangerous period came after their virtual walk on Mars, when the most interesting work had already been fulfilled and they were on the way home. The objective had been reached, there was nothing new, the experiments had all been done several times, and they knew each other well. There was laziness and boredom and light fatigue.”—http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/nov/02/space-crew-mars-mission-nowhere
This is a photo [of] a Predator drone getting ready to take off from an airbase in Khandahar.
If it looks a little odd that’s because it was taken with an iPhone using a camera application called “Hipstamatic” that post-processes photographs and makes them look like they were shot and developed using colour film from the 1970s. Note the addition of the faux-paper “border” around the image.
This is all kinds of weird. This is a photo taken with a device that more than any other collapsed not just the financial but social barrier to people taking a particular kind of networked mobility, an by extension maps, for granted. It’s a photo of a machine that is forcing people to confront a whole new set of questions about war and technology; about accountability and moral authority. In a place that the US has been fighting a war for the last ten years. Dressed up in a summer dress from 1974.
It’s a beautiful photo. It’s also profoundly weird. There’s no going back.