My Trip to the Museum

It has been a long time since I have visited any Museum. So I write this as someone who does not know what to expect from the Museum. Am I supposed to be wowed? Are the things on display supposed to get me to think? Or am I supposed to enjoy the view? I have no idea. Regardless of what a Museum is suppose to do I will express my thoughts on the exhibition that we were supposed to see.

the exhibit was about the growing population in large cities and how to deal with this problem. It used 6 different cities as the focal point and worked on how to solve the problems that exist in them.

I can say that I was not wowed. From an aesthetic view, it was ok. It did kind of get me thinking. Most of the ideas brought forth were pretty cool, tackling the problems in a creative way. They seemed like the ideas that would exist in utopia societies where everything is perfect and works together exactly as its supposed to. Perhaps I am cynical, but I don’t think a lot of these ideas will be doable. For instance the one in Istanbul. Their idea was to form apartment blocks into self sustaining communities where the people pitched in. Individuals had to rise up and take responsibilities. This seems like a very unlikely prospect to me. Do we really think that people will put in the effort to help each other out like this? I find it naïve of the designers to think so. It is possible that it will happen, but it relies too much on the motivation and effort of the people living there.

The ideas presented for Hong Kong seemed very idealistic. Creating man made islands, each one serving a different purpose. This idea seemed straight out of a sci fi story, especially the idea of constructing some kind of floating tanker filled with alleys, pipes, and gutters. Its supposed to be some kind of recreational location. Its definitely not going to devolve into a place for serial killers. It probably won’t get that bad, but still, it just seems weird.

I am not sure if exhibits are supposed to be interactive, but the exhibit was not very interactive. most of it was reading and looking at pictures. The reading gave insight into the thoughts behind designing these projects, as well as the pictures. It did not really come off as something that would be in a Museum though. I don’t want to be too critical because I am not someone who visits museums a lot, not to mention when I think of Museum I think of ancient stuff and I forgot that this is the Museum of MODERN art. For all I know, it was a good Museum piece.

MoMA Visit

I should say that this exhibit is somewhat related to the film blade runner and the book. For one thing i believe that after WWT, the aftermath caused them to inhabit in small areas causing over population in the city and that’s why they made a new colonization in mars. Also like in blade runner it really doesn’t show well what actually happened to cause the city to overpopulated. But as the exhibit shows maybe it could be of resources.

 

This picture looks quite similar to the setting of the movie Blade Runner.

This picture looks quite similar to the setting of the movie Blade Runner.

One of the pictures in the exhibit really caught my eye because it almost looks similar to the setting as in the movie Blade runner. Over population really does make a presence in the movie Blade runner people really clustered in the streets. Each country that are shown in the exhibit are finding ways to find a solution for this over population problem so that in the near future there will not be any economic problems as well as people finding a place to stay. That reminded me of the video where these people were building a small house. I believe a 2 floor building i forget. I probably am wrong about this but please if you can, fill me in to this stuff so i can stay on task.

Well, on the other hand it was certainly interesting

I finally went to see what all the hate was directed to and honestly Im on the fence in agreement. while yes the exhibit had nothing to correlate with the text and the movie on the surface, below that they had something to do with each other. The exhinbit showed somethng really amazing and interesting. Aside from being ridiculouly crowded, which was kinda ironic for an exhibit that shows the solutions for overcrowding, so the whole time i was internally laughing at all that, but the exhibit itself showed many interesting and out of the box ways to properly use all available space within a location for living. They also had a little boat for your bike in Lagos that let you ride your bike on water and i was just taken back by that, like how cool would that be? another thing was the natural energy that would be produced by converting power plants to wind turbine power.

now to the part where it relates to the book and movie. well in both sources, the main setting is a dystopian, post apocalyptic future, which is quite the opposite of the exhibit, one that shows proper techniques to prevent these realities from coming to fruition, which is really a progressive movement using the messed up vision of Philip K Dick to help out humanity and the planet by making everything green and pretty. now how the film portrayed our bleak and desolate existence was rather grim and depressing, but looking at this exhibit was refreshing, seeing the strives that a select few are taking to ensure that we all dont die bunched up together in small apartments or from a flood caused by the deterioration of the ozone layer that would ultimately melt the polar ice caps, i think that’s great. so yeah in my opinion the exhibit had a lot to do with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Blade Runner, since its showing us how to not end up like that, living under a cloud of smog and pollution wouldn’t be my idea of fun, despite how cool it looks in a science fiction film or novel.

Class Discussion: MoMA exhibit & ‘Metropolis’

Ok, we’re going to re-boot and have a discussion about the MoMA exhibit, Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, and how it connects to the texts we’ve been discussing this semester, and to the genre of Science Fiction more broadly (so feel free to also bring in other SF texts). However, you should definitely have part of your discussion about Metropolis. Perhaps you need a refresher? Re-watch Metropolis (with the original score) before commenting on this discussion (and maybe even go see it on the big screen again at the Brooklyn Public Library this coming Wednesday!)

Remember to think about the big themes, central conflicts, and competing values in the exhibit (and its content) and also the texts/SF. Remember that part of the critical power of the genre is to think about alternatives to the present, and to imagine radically different ways of living/structuring the world.

Check out the last part of Eugene’s great class notes from Th 3/5 for some thoughts about how to approach the connection between the exhibit and the other texts we’ve been discussing.

(and remember, if you haven’t seen the exhibit yet, you have until this Sunday, 3/8, to get up there and see it and post about it–for credit!)

[The Logistics]

Just a reminder that you should make your at least one comment (just hit “reply,” either to my original post or to another comment on it) by Sunday (3/8). Then go back/read through all comments and extend the conversation by making at least two more comments (of course, more are always welcome!) in response by Tuesday 3/10. 

Your comment (reply) can be just a few sentences: provide the quote/citation and a quick explanation of how/why it functions in the context of some larger issue/question (or you can raise questions, complicate issues, extend discussions, analyze a character, or setting, etc. &/or discuss central conflicts/values/themes through the use of your evidence/analysis). Feel free to post multiple comments, and also to respond to others. If you’ve already discussed some of these instances in your previous blogs or in class, you should feel free to draw on that material.The goal is to have some good virtual discussions here to help you think critically about important themes/questions raised by this complex novel, and to find/analyze/synthesize various pieces of evidence in support of claim.

The goal in all cases is to provide specific examples from the exhibit & film (quotes/scene + citation) with discussion/analysis and some connection to a larger claim/argument. You must cite currently in MLA format (in-text citation).

Uneven Growth: Fiction does not reflect reality. Or does it?

To be honest, while I was at the exhibit I only sensed the smallest connection with science fiction media. My main concern being that many of the proposals embrace social responsibility, whereas many of the stories we have analyzed so far are mostly about ‘self’, each for their own, screw everybody else. That is, after all, the kind of mentality that we have been conditioned to expect in our day to day lives.

However, after learning about the cities and the proposed projects more specifically, I did get a small sense of connection to the material we have been working with so far, whether it was from a particular city’s current situation or the proposed solutions.

For example, both Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro currently exhibit a strong contrast between the rich and poor sections of the city. This made me think of the city we get to know in Metropolis.

Istanbul is a city where the growing middle class inhabit gated complexes in tower clusters over open land, leading to long hours of traffic and social isolation. It’s as if they live in their own little ‘cells’ and only leave to go to work and come back, which is a less radical version of the lifestyle that is prevalent in The Machine Stops. Among the proposed solutions is an open-source online network, KITO’da, which allows people in a given community to exchange services, goods, knowledge and skills. Reading that that made me think about how in an isolated society, the characters in DADOES needed an empathy box to connect and share with others.

Look, they're empathizing!

Look! They’re empathizing!

After watching Blade Runner I did a little reading online about its production, themes, etc. and I learned a nifty new word: retrofitting. It means ‘new or updated parts that are fitted to old or outdated systems’. The city of L.A. that we see in Blade Runner was a retrofitted landscape, with tall, light emitting towers and pyramids that were basically built around and on top of the old city, which can still be seen in the street scenes. The city of Lagos, a city covered by water that goes unused and that has a poor transportation system has a proposal for improving energy, water and transportation with the design of new infrastructure over the old. The result would be an efficient water city, somewhat like an African Venice. Similarly, in New York the outer boroughs are encouraged to build upwards to the unused air space without taking up the scarce remaining land.

Do replicants flee to 2019 Lagos instead?

Do replicants flee to 2019 Lagos instead?

I think they should.

I think they should.

Lastly, Hong Kong’s proposal of creating artificial islands to mitigate the population growth due to mainland Chinese immigrants made me think about a theme we have not explored yet: colonization. When migrating to Mars or other ‘Off-World Colonies’, what measures will the protagonists or their society/civilization have to employ to make the new worlds adapt to the incoming population? Part of Hong Kong’s project involves creating a series of myths and legends surrounding the artificial islands a means of establishing them as new and unique territories. Think of the possibilities such a proposal could offer to a science fiction novel or film revolving around colonization!

City at sea.

Walked out of the elevator past the classic gaming display, past the bjork gallery (Which I was really tempted to go in,) into what seemed like a plain gallery. I thought I was in the wrong place. I guess the Nat History Museum has spoiled me.

I walked in and the first thing I was introduced to was introduced to the most populous cities in the world. Living in NYC you are probably aware exactly how many people live in this. Everyone can attest to that just by using the public transit and being shoved head first into someone’s armpit. But was semi-surprising is that NYC is no where near the most densely populated city. What I mean by the NYC is a pretty big city. It can take you almost an hour to get into Brooklyn from the Bronx via car. Its a weird reminder our city is not the center. This is interesting because in DADOES Earth seems uninhabited after the colonization, but its hard to think “everyone” emigrated out.

The one section I was able to directly relate too was the housing issue in NYC. Housing in NYC is at a really bad standstill. We are in the need of public housing for people that need it, but real estate firms don’t want to build them. So we have so many people living in shelters simply because there is not enough shelters. The solution is to simply find permanent home for them, but there is more money creating high market value condominiums. Another issue we have is landlords want to evict existing tenants for no reason at all. The reasoning for this is due to tenant laws, its possible to have your rent stabilized. So its possible some tenants are paying close to 3 times below the market value. So its in the landlords best interest to get them out.

The reason I relate to this the most is because currently our landlord refuses to take our rent payments due to not taking partial payments. The reason they are able to use that excuse is because when we have been sending in the stacked months, they send it back. They wait for us to send next months rent and send back the previous stacks with the claim of partial payment. So we wait for the one we sent on its own to be sent back then rinse and repeat. Landlords try to to get their tenants to give up. Sorry I went on a little rant there.

Anyways, I guess the main attraction of this exhibit is the development of mega cities. The idea of not moving away but developing around the existing terrains. My favorite was probably Lagos. I love the idea of traveling by water just to get to your destination. Could be I’m just tired of the road. But its interesting instead of fleeing and developing elsewhere like they did in DADOES, they are staying put and figuring out how to work with what they have. Then there is Kito where their priority is to create communities where people are living together in harmony. One example is having common living area shared by several people. Much like having a roommate in college. Interesting how these developments differ drastically from what science fictions has depicted. Instead of having vast emptiness and despair, you have something where it is vivid and bright.

 

Pleasantly Surprised

I have mixed feelings about my trip to the MoMa. Firstly, that place is packed on weekends. I had gone around 3pm last Saturday, and I felt a little ill from the experience. Of course it didn’t help that I had already come down with some kind of sickness beforehand. I guess it’s natural that it be packed, it is a tourist attraction after all. Another thing that I would like to note is that the place is a lot smaller than I had initially imagined. I’m used to museums being the size of the Smithsonian or the Natural History Museum. That isn’t a demerit, it’s just something I noticed especially because of how packed with people it was. If you haven’t noticed already I’m not a fan of places packed with people.

Yes. Well, moving on.

When I finally reached the exhibit on the 3rd floor it was an unexpected treat. I had gone into this exhibit thinking I would be thrust into the future by fifty to a hundred years; huge vistas of futuristic urban arcologies and endless sprawls basically. What I got was actually a very interesting, informative, and practical outlook on where the world seems to be heading in terms of urbanization and population density.

The main issue this exhibit tackles is the concern over the influx of population in the coming years. This is a major concern due to dwindling resources and available land. Of the Six cities covered I found Lagos, Istanbul, and Rio de Janerio to be the most interesting. Interesting in the urban factoids and technological proposals put forth in each city’s section.

What drew me most to these three cities is their ‘green tech’ approach to combating the population and resource problems of the future. I’ve been a big fan of meshing technology with nature for a while now, so these ideas really hit home for me.

Starting with Lagos, their focus seems to be on utilizing sustainable sources of energy such as wind, water, and solar technologies. Since 30% of Lagos is composed of water, they plan to develop the water ways into main channels for transportation in the city. They propose that with the canals as a central transport medium, this would alleviate the need for heavy automobile usage. This would also promote small businesses such as street vendors, bike repair points, and boat docks.

Istanbul on the other hand is more of a rural landscape in comparison. Today Istanbul culture values self-organization, local production, micro-facilities, and social interaction. To build upon that, future development would consist of gated communities with repetitive town centers with clusters of open land.

Rio de Janerio’s section depicted a striking contrast with Lagos and Istanbul, in that much of the city is surrounded by forests and is built on hills and mountains. Today there is a vast disparity between rich and poor in Rio, but fortunately their middle class is growing. Unfortunately they the practice of Puxadinhos, or the practice of adding to existing structures with whatever materials available, is in full practice.

I had trouble getting to cover New York since the majority of the visitors flocked to that section. From what I gathered, the main topic of concern is over illegal modification of homes to house more people than legally allowed. I guess I wasn’t as interested in this, since I live and have lived in areas where this practice is rampant.

In regards to drawing comparisons to the texts, I’d have to say we are moving in an opposite direction to them. The cities I mention above show a desire to move toward sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of energy, as well as a push for living within the natural environment rather than destroying it. This pretty much goes against the predictions of the world in Metropolis, The Machine Stops, and Bladerunner. I suppose I’d have to change my mind if an apocalyptic event occurs, but until then things seem optimistic. At least in some parts of the world.

Sharing is Saving

So I just came back from visiting the Uneven Growth exhibit at MoMa, it was quite interesting. Plain and simple the exhibit shows the over-population of cities and what can be done to redistribute resources to expand in a more efficient way. Like sharing compost and services and living spaces to decrease unnecessary waste. Or how you can expand on empty areas or existing ares to decrease homelessness, instead of one family apartment how about many apartments on top of that apartment. Permanent homes and not temporary living spaces like shelters. I had a similar difficulty with other bloggers in finding the relevance to material we have gone through in class.  I think there is the comparison on how uneven growth and over population will kind of be our own World War Terminus. Which colonizing another planet is not so far-fetched as there is evidence of recent years that NASA has had plans to make mars habitable fire human life. We will be living in our own Blade runner world

Metropolis of the Future

Going to the Expanding Megacities exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art was a really eye opening experience for me. I’ve always been interested in how technology specialists and futurists project our cities to look like in the coming decades. Especially with our issues in climate change and over population, it is really important to start wondering how we are going to restructure our cities in terms of energy efficiency and growing poverty.

The first thing the exhibit tells you is that by the year 2030, the world population will have grown to almost 8 billion people (it is currently 6 billion). Two thirds of these people will be living in congested cities and most will be poor. This will lead to a dangerous rise in socioeconomic inequality among poor and rich people within urban areas. What this exhibit does is try to offer debates and discussions to help deal with this problem through cutting edge design, architecture, and energy efficiency.

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One of the main things I took away from the exhibit was just how bad we manage homelessness in our own city here in New York. There was a video that played in which homelessness activists and housing activists spoke about the disproportionate inequality between poor and rich, especially when we look at housing. Profit-driven development has contributed to this problem, as the middle class families begin to fade away and poverty becomes ever more prevalent while luxury housing seems to be popping up more and more throughout the city. Some of these stats were really alarming and confirmed a very large issue that gets overlooked many times. One of the ways to fix this poverty problem in terms of low income housing and homelessness is to better allocate space within the city. There are too many wasted spaces scattered throughout the city that could be used to help with this problem. One crazy stat was that there was 3 times more vacant space than there are homeless people, which would easily solve this crisis. Also, there is a deficiency in affordable housing for low income families while there seems to be a surplus in rich housing, especially high rises which remain pretty vacant for long periods of time.

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One of the cooler things I saw was an artistic rendering of what a future city would look like. This city of Lagos in the year 2050 would be free of fossil fuel dependency and off grid. Clean energy, wind turbines, and solar panels are all over, along with high speed rails and health centers. When connecting it to the material in class, the cities resembles that of the futuristic cities you might see in Metropolis, but I think they try to focus less on technology and more on having a healthy human life in a city that may be over-populated in the near future. Also, this issue congested cities and over-population made me think about the cells in The Machine Stops. Everybody confined to small apartments and housing (especially housing projects which I used to live in)

It was a great view into the future. I hope our politicians can come around to these ideas and put them into fruition. I was a little disappointed we didn’t get to see some future projections of what New York might possibly look like (most of it was based in homelessness and lack of affordable housing). I would’ve liked to see some artist renderings for New York that I saw with the other cities.

Checking Out MOMA (POP Overload) BOOM

Going to moma felt refreshing because i got to step out the zone when it comes to travel routes and i enjoyed the city. I have plans of returning again when the weather get warmer. The exhibit i felt connected very little to the stories we read. I felt a connection as in the exhibit paints a background story on what creates a war. The rapid growth and limited resources shows a Man Vs Nature stand point.

Seeing the exhibit reminds of some places in my neighborhood. Now i see even the smallest parts are getting houses built in them. Makes me wonder about my future in NY almost everyday now. The rapid increase will increase competition creating lack of opportunity. Opportunities are being made to keep things at at balance but things are getting sacrificed also. The lack of natural resources means that more money will be coming out of tax payers. I also started to look at things differently, even if things reach a balance, how long will it last.

I feel around 2030 alot of things will create a shift in terms or higher class and working class well thats my thought due to the population increase.