Sci Fi has always been a great interest to me. I’ve always enjoyed the look and style of the movies. What I find interesting is how sci fi often reflects society and in a way predicts what society will look like. Current affairs, topical issues and technology of real life quickly find a home in the realm of the Sci Fi movie.

Blade Runner, an iconic film shows a planet and society which is left distorted and bleak. The imagery is amazing, and in many ways this film, released in 1982 is ahead of itself.

A major aspect of the Sci Fi genre is its take on philosophy. In my earlier blog post I talked about the 1960’s and how people behaved. Their un-pc ways seem unbelivable to us now in 2011. Society changes quickly. And so does a philosophical thinking. Infact it changes quicker then expected.

The Sci Fi film really encapulsates this notion. The morals and ethics of these societies of the future vary from one film to another. Often the themes are include, racial and minority discrimination.

In Blade Runner and more recently the excellent AI, robots and genetically modified beings are treated with contempt and excluded from society. In the 60’s Black people and gays were treated in the same way. Things may be different now but yet the Sci Fi film is preoccupied with the same themes.

The Sci Fi works on our fears but at the same time challanges the philosophy of what is your world view?

In The Island we see clones kept hidden in an underground world of white trainers and squeky clean interiors. In this future, should you have the resources then it is possible to grow a clone of yourself as a personal life insurance plan. This is a topical issue and raises many ethical and moral questions.

World Views change quickly yet the same fears seem to hang perpetually like shameful skeletons in people’s closets.

In this post I wanted to think about the Sci Fi notion and relate it to a Landscape Architecture context. I thought about our incredible city of London as a futuristic landscape or urban landscape.

London the melting pot of the world possess its own unique quality as a city. Culturally diverse it, there are more then 300 languages spoken within the metropolitan area. Somehow the city ticks away on a daily basis, people getting on with their business and living side by side with others who live completely different lives to their own.

This made me think about what London of the not so distant future would look like. Taking inspiration from the Architects Archigram I wanted to look at how architecture is represented in the future city.

Archigram led by Peter Cook, were an architectural group who formed in the 60’s who created the above fantastical images of what the hypothetical future city might look like. They in turn took much of their inspiration from Antonio Sant’Elia’s work.

He looked at the industrial cities of the US and reflected this in his drawing which show a brutal yet stylish look at the building as machine and monumental.

The look of the future can sometimes be depicted as something horrific and extremely dark. The film Aliens enlisted the help of Swiss artist H.R. Giger to create the look of the Alien. This future is scary. The creature, not only a physical threat but also an intellectual one. The look of the creature and its lair is architecturally powerful and commanding.

When we watch the film we don’t empathise with the Alien but I suppose the creature is doing what it need to survive. The creature seems to capture our worst fears. In one way it is an extreme reaction to minority groups. This theme taken to its worst conclusion.

When I think about London I am always aware of how little space there is. We are beginning to see London grow upwards and I’ve always felt that this is the future of the city. The medieval streets are crammed and in order to solve the accomodatation issues building need to get higher.

I have chosen as a Sci Fi theme, LONDON 2050. Not so far away, but this London is a city that rises above our current city. The buildings would stand monumental on pilotis and stand proud and gleaming.

Because London is such a cultural and religious mix, I envision a city of non religion. A city based on a philosophy. This made me think, what kind of philosophy?

As Londoner’s I feel it is our duty to remain open minded and tolerant. This makes life alot easier. Consequentialism as a philosophical theory interests me. If a society lives by this mantra life could go in any direction. The consequentialist belief in that a morally right act will produce a good outcome. The end justify the means.

I would take this further in that LONDON 2050 would work on this theory. Therfore peoples actions are entirely up to themselves and not based on a religious rule or view. Therefore should someone commit a negative act, whether that is deemed as such in this world view, then there is a consequence. Someone might steal someone elses property, this is up to themselves but then is it right? A consequence of this may be that the victim is having a bad day and might decide they will take revenge. What if the victim feels murder is a justification in their consequentialist world view… Perhaps not a good result for the thief.

Therefore there is cause and effect. This society would not be policed but instead let people sort things out for themselves. It is in the interests of people to act in moral way which would have the most positive result. The thief might re consider his action as he knows that he could be sorry,  so may in turn choose another option. Perhaps not.

Of course this new London could be chaotic, which makes it interesting. If people go around doing whatever they want could a society like that even work? Does society really work as things are at the moment?

When thinking visually about how LONDON 2050 would look, I first thought about how people would live. Sky scraper towers were the ideal solution. This sketch below shows how I felt the city should look.

The accomodation, flats, would be housed in structure which rise above london like cranes. I call them Golden Towers. The name suggests some property developers marketing campaign. They rise at approx 150m height and base structure at approx 15m by 15m.

Once I made the model out of white card I wanted to have it interactive. I liked the idea of being able to rotate it in its base.

This simple mechanism is created using the following process:

I sprayed the model with a gold metallic paint and took the following model pictures at the Photolab at Uni.

I then wanted to place this model in a London context. I choose a city view from google images and started to create a visualisation in photoshop. There are many layers in this visualisation but here is a summary of how the visualisation was created:

The result is interesting. I did not change too much with regards to the London scape, I wanted to suggest that these towers exist in parallel to London.

My next step was to incorporate graphic design. I was reminded of the film Starship Troopers. I love this film for its sheer wit. In particular I like the way they use news reel advertisements to build fears into the citizens minds. There is suggestion of war Nazi propaganda.

I decided I would create a poster that might look like a futuristic estate agents  advertise. The poster was created using InDesign and I downloaded a sci fi styled text to capture the mood.

I like the final result. I think the orange background gives the poster a slightly retro look. I choose the words carefully. “Rise above it, you’re better then them!” came from the idea that when say there is office politics, gossip someone might advise this. But in this London 2050 the developers are literally suggesting that by buying into Golden Towers you are physically rising above people but also status wise as well…

I also created a second model. I wanted to create a building which would be almost a governing body for London 2050. Even though the city would operate on its own terms I still felt it needed a fulcrum. The city is religious free but I would suggest it have a MINISTRY OF MORAL ORDER. I started thinking along the terms of a huge cathedral like structure. I wanted it to look powerful yet reflect the crazy society that it occupies.

By using stiff card of white and dark grey I formed a strange sculptural structure which stands on pilotis. The windows are formed using a yellow acetate. The result is interesting, a kind of anti architecture. I wanted it to look bizarre and jaunty. I’m not sure how successful I was with this model but I thought it would be interesting to include anyway.

And finally in the image below I attempted to light it using table lamps and whatever I had to hand at home. I took the image into photoshop and ajusted the curves to add a little drama.

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