High-end absurdity

Nature Treks is a trippy FPS (first person soother?) from Greener Games (via Rock Paper Shotgun), ‘a non competitive, interactive experience aimed as an aid for relaxation and healing through the use of audio and visuals’. A mix between Waybuloo and Crisis / see also DoomEd, ‘a single-player first person shooter learning game that combines science and history with FPS action, taking players through the horror of bio-terrorism and WWII chemical experimentation gone wrong’. Sort of Half-Life with equations.


That annual orgy of high-end absurdity, the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book has arrived to provide a helpful footnote to this collection of graphs (via MeFi) showing the extreme polarity of the current US economy. Buy a custom-built library for just $125,000. We’re not sure if that includes the shelves.


David Markey’s 1991 Tour Diary, the making of 1991 The Year Punk Broke / some more late 80s, early 90s sonic nostalgia: footage from the Rollercoaster Tour / the Creation Records YouTube channel / I Was There When Acid House Hit London and This Is How It Felt (via MeFilisten) / Write it on a post-it note, a tumblr / Japanese pop-science futurism, at The Curious Brain.


Post-modern myths is a snappy dismissal of five preconceptions about Po-mo. Best read in conjunction with the (very dense) comments. Then go and cast your eyes over the panoply of urban megastructures assembled by DRB and ponder the emergence of architecture as a strand of the entertainment industry, a colossal distraction from the quotidian demands of everyday life. Today, architecture is another facet of the entertainment industry.


Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death (1986) was a sage ‘historical narrative which warns of a decline in the ability of our mass communications media to share serious ideas’. Postman was writing in the pre-digital age at a time of massive private investment in cable television (thanks to the 1984 Cable Communications Act: ‘From 1984 through 1992, the industry spent more than $15 billion on the wiring of America, and billions more on program development. This was the largest private construction project since World War II.’). This hidden infrastructure went on to shape society: ironically, although the visible infrastructure of architecture and environment was slow to catch on, it has now caught up and perhaps even superseded the Vegas metaphor set out by Postman in his introduction:

‘Today we must look to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, as a metaphor of our national character and aspiration, its symbol a thirty-foot-high cardboard picture of a slot machine and a chorus girl. For Las Vegas is a city entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment, and as such proclaims the spirit of a culture in which all public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment. Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.’

This entry was posted in architecture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to High-end absurdity

  1. timd says:

    thanks for the I was young acid house link – good read – and lead to good listening

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.