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The Future as It Appeared in the 1980s
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Airports are in interesting window into architecture and perceptions of the future. When I landed at Vienna International in 2010 it was as if I landed back in the 1970s. In contrast, Frankfurt Airport was the closest I’ve felt to really be pushed into the “gleaming future” you sometimes see in science-fiction films.

With that in mind, lately I’ve been thinking that for some reason the airport at Detroit reminds me of what the future was going to be like in my childhood of the 1980s.

 
• Tags: Future, Miscellaneous 
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  1. I fly through Detroit, a lot, as it is the closest international hub to where I live. My feeling about the Detroit Airport was captured by commercial from few years ago. It showed a middle age woman dressed in business garb, in a concourse of some random airport. She is holding the handset of a payphone and speaking into it. People hurry by her. She says: “Where am I, I am in an airport.” It is entirely generic. It could be anywhere on the planet.

  2. The GATTACA tunnel, as I think of it. The incongruity of that airport wrt Detroit (or current year America in general) has elicited nervous chuckles the few times I’ve flown through.

  3. My favorite parts of sci-fi movies tend to be the retro-futurism in them. Blade Runner, Star Wars, Alien, all have that grungy used-future look. 2001 has that 50s/ early 60s Googie-ish look that you can see in Tomorrowland in Disney World (or pastiched for ironic effect in Fallout games). I can’t really identify a consistent aesthetic of the future in current movies. I guess everything slick and white like an Apple store?

    • Replies: @Max Payne
    You'd like the 2004 remake of Battlestar Galactica (the technology aspect). Felt dirty and real. Phones with cords and public announcement systems. Cartridge-loaded hand weapons and medicine that was more intricate then just some blue beam that fixes everything. The Cylons were basically the Apple stores for contrast.

    I wish there was more sci-fis like that. Firefly was kinda like that but that's become a cult classic now that today's kids can't relate to it at all.

    I can’t really identify a consistent aesthetic of the future in current movies. I guess everything slick and white like an Apple store?
     
    Sometimes it works. Like in Star Trek the Next Generation, everything was clean and pristine and simple in design. But as I rewatch TNG slowly I can't tell if it was the technology (technobabble) the drew in the audience of the late 80s-early 90s or the life lessons of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
    , @syonredux

    I can’t really identify a consistent aesthetic of the future in current movies. I guess everything slick and white like an Apple store?
     
    That's the aesthetic that JJ Abrams used in the STAR TREK reboot.
  4. @Senator Brundlefly
    My favorite parts of sci-fi movies tend to be the retro-futurism in them. Blade Runner, Star Wars, Alien, all have that grungy used-future look. 2001 has that 50s/ early 60s Googie-ish look that you can see in Tomorrowland in Disney World (or pastiched for ironic effect in Fallout games). I can't really identify a consistent aesthetic of the future in current movies. I guess everything slick and white like an Apple store?

    You’d like the 2004 remake of Battlestar Galactica (the technology aspect). Felt dirty and real. Phones with cords and public announcement systems. Cartridge-loaded hand weapons and medicine that was more intricate then just some blue beam that fixes everything. The Cylons were basically the Apple stores for contrast.

    I wish there was more sci-fis like that. Firefly was kinda like that but that’s become a cult classic now that today’s kids can’t relate to it at all.

    I can’t really identify a consistent aesthetic of the future in current movies. I guess everything slick and white like an Apple store?

    Sometimes it works. Like in Star Trek the Next Generation, everything was clean and pristine and simple in design. But as I rewatch TNG slowly I can’t tell if it was the technology (technobabble) the drew in the audience of the late 80s-early 90s or the life lessons of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

  5. Unrelated, I am lobbying for a post on two expansions out of Africa; How does Metsapalu et al know that the 2% is from human expansion, an not an archaic hominid intrusion?

    Do you know if Karitiana or Xurui have this?

  6. So which airport best represents the future of today?

    • Replies: @Darin

    So which airport best represents the future of today?
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donetsk_International_Airport
  7. The future ever changes.

    Verne´s ” Paris au XXe siècle” and Well´s “The Time Machine”, both written in the XIX century, showed a dystopian future. In this they founded a prolific tradition.

    In the more optimistic parts of the XX century we sometimes witnessed a more optimistic future a la Jetsons, glittering and clean.

    The movies changed that a lot; Star Wars and Alien presented the concept of “old future” to the masses. The first alien movie was descripted as “truck drivers in space” by Ridley Scott himself:

    Danny Peary: ln Alien, everything looks old, uninviting, bleak, disheveled. What was the look you wanted for your major set. the starship Nostromo?
    Ridley Scott: The look really was meant to reflect the crew members who, l felt, should be like truck drivers in space. Their jobs, which took them on several-year journeys through space, were to them a normal state of affairs. Therein lies the fantasy. The reality would not be like this for maybe a thousand years – but in our tongue-in-cheek fantasy we project a not-too-distant future in which there are many vehicles tramping around the universe on mining expeditions, erecting military installations, or whatever.
    At the culmination of many long voyages, each covering many years, these ships — no doubt part of armadas owned by private corporations — look used, beat-up, covered with graffiti, and uncomfortable. We certainly didn’t design the Nostromo to look like a hotel.

  8. @whahae
    So which airport best represents the future of today?

    So which airport best represents the future of today?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donetsk_International_Airport

  9. Seems that the 80s was a golden age for dystopian sci-fi, “Turbo Kid” looks like a fun parody of that trend.

  10. @Senator Brundlefly
    My favorite parts of sci-fi movies tend to be the retro-futurism in them. Blade Runner, Star Wars, Alien, all have that grungy used-future look. 2001 has that 50s/ early 60s Googie-ish look that you can see in Tomorrowland in Disney World (or pastiched for ironic effect in Fallout games). I can't really identify a consistent aesthetic of the future in current movies. I guess everything slick and white like an Apple store?

    I can’t really identify a consistent aesthetic of the future in current movies. I guess everything slick and white like an Apple store?

    That’s the aesthetic that JJ Abrams used in the STAR TREK reboot.

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