Sunday, 10 January 2010

Building the future

Epson have been hosting a photography competition in assosciation with Wired over the past few months with various themes. The first was 'power' and was won by James Smith's photo entitled 'cables', the second was 'disruptive' and'barrier' by Paul Simpson bought home the prize. It is the final theme and the entries it received that I really want to look at today.

The theme was 'future', something very close to our hearts here at S&N, so obviously it seemed natural to have a closer look into the entries. What surprised me most of all was that the large majority of entrys were of architecture, not something that I naturaly think of when I hear the word future.

The two do go hand in hand however, after all the easiest way to define the future in visual formats is to change all the buildings radically, the floating saucer houses in the Jetsons being a good example. Our perceptions of how the future will look is always changing, the Blu Ray Terminator 2 has the films alternate ending set in the (at the time) distant future, the scene however looks extremely old fashioned because it features the now laughable round buildings with obscure angles and inexplicable protrusions, and of course, hoops. Obviously the future is never here, something that lingers intangibaly in the distance, so our perceptions of what is futuristic constantly changes. To some degree, in this country atleast, I feel we predict too much change in our future landscapes. I grew up in a Victorian house, one that many people had lived in before me, on a street made up entirely of those types of buildings. When I left a new family took up residence and the cycle began again. That house will be there another 50 years atleast I'd wager, and is in no danger of being replaced with a sleek space dome any time soon.

To me technology defines the future, and I have no doubt that a lot of other people feel the same way. Tech is constantly changing, already a model of the iPhone has become old tech, as have many consoles, TVs and every computer component released in the last seven minutes. Maybe then technology actually defines the past?
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