TagRana Dasgupta

M.I.A: remixing the future

I have a piece up on Alterati today about M.I.A and her new album Kala:

M.I.A’s new album Kala whips listeners through the poorest corners of the world, moving too quickly to quite distinguish between the various locales. Is this Rio or Trinidad? Calcutta or London? Wait, the Australian outback? It’s all blurred, mashed-up.

M.I.A brings us straight to the bleeding edge of modern culture. While indie rock endlessly recycles the past, M.I.A is busy remixing the future. In his essay The Sudden Stardom of the Third-World City’ Rana Dasgupta wrote ‘Is it going too far to suggest that our sudden interest in books and films about the Third-World city stems from the sense that they may provide effective preparation for our future survival in London, New York or Paris? Our fast-moving media culture, groping always for any image of the ?new’ that can be used to produce more astonishment, operates in a zone slightly ahead of knowledge.’ In other words, westerners are increasingly looking to the Third-World to catch a glimpse of our own future.

Full Story: Alterati.

The Sudden Stardom of the Third-World City

This brings us to the most perverse suspicion of all. Perhaps the Third-World city is more than simply the source of the things that will define the future, but actually is the future of the western city. Perhaps some of those tourists who look to the Third World for an image of their own past are reflecting uneasily on how all the basic realities of the Third-World city are already becoming more pronounced in their own cities: vast gulfs between sectors of the population across which almost no sympathetic intelligence can flow, gleaming gated communities, parallel economies and legal systems, growing numbers of people who have almost no desire or ability to participate in official systems, innovations in residential housing involving corrugated iron and tarpaulin. Is it going too far to suggest that our sudden interest in books and films about the Third-World city stems from the sense that they may provide effective preparation for our future survival in London, New York or Paris?

Full Story: Rana Dasgupta.

(via Abstract Dynamics).

I hadn’t really thought of it quite like this, but yes I think some of my own interest in 3rd world megalopolisis is in gaining some insight about what the future may look like for all of us.

See also: Feral Cities, Grim Meathook Future, Biopunk: the biotechnology black market, and Adam Greenfield’s Design Engaged 2005 presentation (does anyone have better notes for this?).

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