Downsized

On our obsession with model villages, an extract from Simon Garfield’s In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World. A journey that takes you from the Floridian ruins of Splendid China to Jimmy Cauty’s The Aftermath Dislocation Principle (more), miniature worlds are about exercising control, over landscape, architecture and tiny people themselves. This element of being able to meticulously control all facets of one’s small environment is something that Alexander Payne’s Downsizing didn’t really touch on – save for the revelation that suddenly ‘massive’ McMansions were available for all (except of course they weren’t). The ultimate small continent is still Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, mentioned in the piece, which acts in a similar way to the grand romantic images of, say, Caspar David Friedrich, heightened, over the top, intense and extremely compartmentalised. See also the book Model Villages by Tim Dunn and Tucktonia, ‘The Best of Britain in Miniature’, now buried beneath a housing estate. And why do so many model villages, dioramas, etc., feature semi-hidden figures having sex?

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