utopia and dystopia in architecture (a capsule)


Louise Belcourt, Mound #28, 2015, oil on canvas, 66 x 85 inches

Will likely not make it to Locks Gallery in Philadelphia for Louise Belcourt's show so this is a "jpeg review."

The recent film Midnight Special, a leaner, meaner version of John Carpenter's Starman [caution: spoilers], imagines a race of perfected humans in a dimension "above" ours, who "have watched us for years." At the end of the movie we're given a glimpse of their architecture, very tech-y, CAD-designed, eco-friendly structures twisting and soaring above the landscape. Belcourt's urban vision above, for me, better approximates what an evolved humanity might build. Kinder, gentler, more integrated and integral than the film's Eiffel-meets-Saarinen machine confections.

On the other side of the design-wheel, opposite Belcourt's mound cities of neopolitan ice cream but not that far off from some of Midnight Special's skyscraper para-buildings, we have this clanking artifact from the real world, spotted by James Howard Kunstler (fortunately not yet built -- this is only a rendering -- but awaiting city approvals -- in Los Angeles -- near the airport):


Friendly aliens, if you are watching us, please intervene now.