Mineral TV and the Archipelago of Abandoned Shopping Malls

"A mediaeval cathedral was a sort of permanent and unchangeable TV programme that was supposed to tell people everything indispensable for their everyday life, as well as for their eternal salvation." So says Umberto Eco, speaking at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt, 2003.

[Image: Cathedral at Bourges, by Arnaud Frich].

This makes me wonder if everyone on Earth could take everything they know and carve it into a cliffside somewhere – or a mountain – sculpting all that rock into a cathedral; and, then, if they could take that hulking monolith of information and minerals and break it off, launch it into orbit, send it drifting through space... It'd be a kind of moving table of contents for the human species. A knowledge-object.
Would that have a better chance than NASA's so-called Golden Record, that got sent out with Voyager, of explaining the Earth and human history to distant civilizations?

[Image: NASA's Golden Record, "intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials." The record is really "a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth," including the sound of "surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals," and a signed letter from then-president Jimmy Carter. A Menudo video was reportedly removed at the last minute].

Or, instead of demolishing old buildings, perhaps we should detach them from the Earth's surface and send them into space as lessons for alien species. Like that Michael Crichton novel. You could learn about the Earth by studying its architecture – because the planet flings buildings everywhere. Constantly.
Archipelagoes of abandoned shopping malls pulled slowly toward distant planets. There goes the Mall of America...
A new film directed by Jerry Bruckheimer.

Comments are moderated.

If it's not spam, it will appear here shortly!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Blish: Cities in Space, published around 1960, as I remember. New York as a force for change in the galaxy. Stalwart, swashbuckling stuff.

February 01, 2006 12:47 AM  
Blogger Octopus Grigori said...

Or perhaps in reverse: architecture battling for position on the National Mall in order to teach us about ourselves.

February 01, 2006 2:15 AM  
Anonymous moon said...

loved the idea of detaching
buildings, and sending them into space !!!!
better still -maybe we can shift some people that lack of space and good good fortune :)

btw
simply adore your place!!!

February 06, 2006 4:14 PM  

Post a Comment