Searching for the Smart City’s blind spots – resistance, respite, and “New Romance”

It’s easy to default to dystopian visions of the future when the present feels so bleak. Surveillance and data tracking technologies are firmly embedded within the fabric of our culture. The dire, mounting effects of climate change are all but inevitable at this point. However, envisioning the future as a facile dystopia, or a shining utopia, can be dangerous. To accept the future as conclusive is to accept that it can never be changed, escaped from, or just lived within once we arrive there; whether viewed through a utopian or dystopian lens, it is not fixed. And when we imagine the future, it says more about our current moment than it does about how the coming years will actually unfold. It is a constant negotiation between the passage of time and the people who live through it. The nuanced complexities of everyday life are often missing in capital 'F' futures.

In “New Romance: Love Stories from the Machine City” the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery at Columbia GSAPP (NYC), speculative architect-cum-director Liam Young and screenwriter Tim Maughan portray, through three short films, humans carving out interstitial moments of hope and euphoria within darker, more pessimistic possible futures.

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