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Killer View
California Wildfire

In a very recent post, I started talking about a Swiss company's snow avalanche life-jacket and then somehow ended up writing a drive-by-proposal for a migratory spa town, which the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan would set up during a wildfire event in southern California in the hopes of attaining — in the middle of a coronal maelstrom — psychic rejuvenation within its protective walls, because rehab centers, county jail cells, Starbucks and other celebrity landscape du jour have earlier failed to give them what it is that they seem to always be photographed seeking.

I then stated briefly that through their insulated windows they would be privy to “a cinematic struggle better than what is shown at a theater on Hollywood Boulevard.” Or an analogue surface of the sun.

A few days hence, I discovered some photographs from the United States Geological Survey that might as well have been taken from these imagined mobile therapeutic chambers.

California Wildfire

California Wildfire

California Wildfire

California Wildfire

California Wildfire

California Wildfire

To be more accurate, these sublime scenes of wildlife escaping the fires and then returning to a devastated landscape were captured “using a 'camera trap,' a camera wired with motion sensors to automatically take photos when the sensors detect movement in the camera’s field of view.”

Quoting further:

This camera trap is on the former El Toro Marine Base, an area that burned last week in the Orange County Santiago Fire. This particular area was the southernmost extension of the fire, where it crossed over a toll road into this small peninsula of habitat surrounded on the other three sides by urban development, small agricultural fields and the main part of the former Marine Base.

It's yet another extensive surveillance system, one that monitors, in this case, “elusive, often-nocturnal animals” as they inhabit a “complex landscape of open spaces, roads and urban areas.” In other words, it isn't too dissimilar from the one stalking the streets of Los Angeles.

The Bridge House of Sierra Leone
Bridge House of Sierra Leone

In an undated BBC News photo essay, Katrina Manson writes:

During Sierra Leone's brutal 1991 - 2002 civil war, dozens of people were executed on the Aberdeen Road bridge in the seaside capital, Freetown.

Their bodies were thrown into the fishing waters below.

While most of those who could afford to get out of the country did, others hid anywhere they could manage.

And one of the places where people took refuge away from the violence happened to be the bridge itself. Over a hundred people, we read, sought shelter there as executions took place above.

Today, the bridge is home to a family of six.

Bridge House of Sierra Leone

For such a nontraditional house, dwelling and domesticity still take on some characteristics that are all too conventional.

The entrance, for instance, is “via a rickety wooden ladder and small rectangular hole in the concrete base.” It's a porous boundary, in other words, clearly demarcated. A spatialized event.

There is a cooking area, which is presumably separate from where the family sleeps. Concerns for ornaments and a sense of ownership are evident in the wall mural containing “images of helicopters, drums, animals and black people and white people living in harmony.”

The wife cooks.

Bridge House of Sierra Leone

Perhaps in another nontraditional house in a more politically and economically stable location, one hopes to hear of their inhabitants and their mode of living changed fundamentally.

Because surely it would be interesting to find out, among other things, that after living in a private space station orbiting the moon and the earth in a figure-8 trajectory, a young married couple have decided to forgo messy genetic exchanges altogether and instead rear clones of themselves exclusively. There's something in the habitation modules vibrating in concert with the solar flares that cancels out prejudices and moral inhibitions.

And that a suburban family transplanted into cave no longer waste their time worrying about jobs or the children's education or where they sleep. Their deep, dewy and spatially indeterminate abode has inspired them to follow a metaphysical lifestyle unknown to everyone in the history of monasticism. They don't eat breakfast. They can now move as if gravity is optional.

You used to vote Democratic, but after squatting in a mall undetected for years, you now vote Republican.

Bridge House of Sierra Leone

Living in a dam would be ridiculously fun. But to hear that the only things that have changed are your mailing address and monthly mortgage payments, and that you've made yourself a generic kitchen, bedroom and salon fitted with ornaments ordered from William & Sonoma, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Ikea, respectively, could get disgustingly boring fast.

The view may be spectacular but what if the view can cause the emergence of photogenic extrahuman abilities?

Public Fountain by Charles Goldman
Public Fountain by Charles Goldman

Public Fountain by Charles Goldman is a “self-contained, portable and solar powered fountain. It is designed to bring the gathering point — that the traditional urban fountain often is — into the city's more tangential zones.”

Of course, there needs to be an army of autonomous Goldman fountains, self-aware and self-driven water features in a continuous balletic performance on the streets and sidewalks and all of the public spaces of Manhattan, replicating above ground the island's subterranean channels of sewage and contaminated hydrology, forming geometries and patterns that only the bastard petri dish love child of Busby Berkeley and Piet Mondrian can imagine.

It's a deterrestrialized river-on-wheels.

In unairconditioned neighborhoods where hacking fire hydrants is a favorite and necessary summertime activity, they spurt a refreshing frothy gaiety.

And in trash-hewn alleys and neglected parks, they offer respite — an oasis in the urban desert — to the homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes.

Or maybe they will render E8. That will be the most awesome public fountain ever!
Wind Dam
Wind Dam

Whether it is the spectacular result of a collaboration between Chetwood Associates, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, an ancient Greek myth-maker and ILM special effects supervisors or not, the Wind Dam is truly something to behold, either digitally or when fully realized.

From Building Design:

The dam, which would be located over a gorge at Lake [Ladoga] in north-west Russia, includes a cup-shaped spinnaker sail, believed to be the first of its kind, which will generate renewable energy by funnelling the wind through an attached turbine.

The spinnaker shape is similar to the mainsail of a yacht, and is thought to be particularly effective in capturing wind.

Project architect Laurie Chetwood, said that the shape of the sail was influenced by functionality and a desire to produce something “sculptural”.

No doubt Chetwood and colleagues will next propose to gouge a network of artificial valleys in the Tibetan Plateau and then install thousands of these lepidopterian wind turbines to alleviate China's energy needs. A new kind of prayer flags billowing between jagged peaks and ridges, simultaneously symbolizing Tibet's complete colonization and echoing the last few sighs of a dying culture.

Extrapolating a bit further, why not bore a Turrellian complex of tunnels through the world's mountain ranges, specifically those soon to be depleted of their glaciers, wherein wind turbines are strategically inserted. Bolivia may not supplant Venezuela as South America's premier energy producer, but its sonic landscape will surely generate billions in tourism revenues. Andean folk pipe music writ large.

The Jersey Array

Wearable Anti-Avalanche Homes

Speaking of avant-garde wear, the Swiss company, Snowpulse, is selling an avalanche protection gear that can protect skiers and general hikers if they happen to get attacked by a mountain.

Following are some of their selling points:

Similarly to a life-jacket used in the sea, the Life Bag keeps you on your back and your head out of the snow. It’s the best solution to avoid being asphyxiated.

Snowpulse airbags offer a high added value option: the automatic deflation of your airbag. The airbag deflation creates a cavity around the victim. This cavity is a real help to extract the victim and also provides 150 Liters of air to breath if you are buried. Survival time is therefore drastically increased.

Up to 20% of avalanche deaths are due to traumas. Snowpulse airbags are the only one designed to protect your head and thorax against shocks.

What the company should manufacture next is a model that can increase survivability if you happen to be buried in a hundred feet of snow and perhaps at a deeper stratum.

Let's say you and your adventure buddies are traversing a little explored valley in the Rockies. The snow is freshly fallen, the smell of pine perfumes the air, the sun gently pricking your frozen cheeks. And then you hear a low rumbling sound, and it's getting louder and louder. But even before you notice that an avalanche is racing towards you, the motion detectors built into your Life Bags Xtreme® automatically trigger rapid inflation so that in nanoseconds you are enveloped in a protective bubble stocked with emergency supplies that will last for weeks. Your companions, too, are safely domiciled inside their own caverns, to which your wearable anti-avalanche home plugs in instinctively with filamental tunnels. Under all that snow, a quaint mountain hamlet forms.

And perhaps this has been planned all along. You're a new breed of extreme property developers intent on developing a new ex-urb of Denver located deep in the wilderness. Avalanche urbanism.


Or: you're hiking through parched landscapes on the periphery of Los Angeles. And as predicted by FEMA, a perfect firestorm appears from behind a ridge, soon to engulf you and your companions. Of course, no one panics, because everyone's wearable anti-wildfire homes swell to form a protective bubble filled with supercooled air. And since there's a minibar, everyone waits out the fires.

Through insulated windows, you see a cinematic struggle better than the Apocalypse of the Week movie now playing at a theater down on Hollywood Boulevard. Disaster tourism.

A fellow disaster tourist will swear that he's on the surface of the sun. Others will think that they're experiencing some sort of therapeutic cleansing. It's the new California spa town: mobile, ridiculously trendy and a passing fad.

Sites of Managed Anxiety
Wearable Homes

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