Sunday, March 11, 2007

Finally... The present that looks like the future!

I can't speak for you, I know that. But I can say, for myself, growing up, the future, when it finally becomes the present, is always mundane, banal.

In fact, it is the act of the future becoming the present that creates the opportunity to use words like "mundane" and "banal."

Think for a minute.

When we watched the original Star Trek those little flip-open "communicators" seemed every bit as exciting as the phasers and the warp drive. But the cell phones that look ten times as sexy and sleek; the phones people wear on their ears or the ones that are thin little cords that dangle down - the ones that have made it impossible to identify the actual schizophrenics any more - these seem so ordinary. So mundane. So banal.

The cars hurt the most.

The cars that zoomed across every version of "The City of Tomorrow!" eventually became the Ford Taurus. Every year every carmaker rolls out another exciting "concept car" that, every year ends up looking pretty much like the Ford Taurus. Mundane. Banal.

This was Kubrick's genius in 2001: A Space Odyssey, his ability to reach forward and bring the future back into the present as it will appear when it becomes today. Space phones and space toilets. Mundane. Everyday.

But look at this image.

It is the city of tomorrow, right here and now.

By joining itself with the Grand Canyon and ancient tribal people it also folds the past into itself. It manages to simultaneously look like an illustration from Johnny Quest, and call up that African tribe who use plates to extend their lower lips.

Doesn’t it?

It also brings back my own memory of the Italian Pavilion at the 1967 World Expo and a large domed area with a clear glass floor underneath which was a long drop to a desert floor. I can remember the feeling in the bottom of my stomach as I write this.

It’s probably just me, but this is the most compelling image I’ve come across in quite a while. And, even if it is just me, it’s my blog.

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