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20 NOVEMBER 2016

Alex Gendler: how to recognize a dystopia

"The genre of dystopia – the 'not good place'– has captured the imaginations of artists and audiences alike for centuries. But why do we bother with all this pessimism? Alex Gendler explains how dystopias act as cautionary tales – not about some particular government or technology, but the very idea that humanity can be molded into an ideal shape."

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Aldous Huxley • Alex Gendler • Animal Farm (1954)artificial intelligence • aryan • atomic energyBlade Runner (1982)brave new world • Brave New World (1932) • cautionary talecommunist systemconcentration campdemocracydepletion of natural resourcesDr Strangelove (1964) • drudgery • dystopia • dystopian fiction • dystopian literature • dystopian science fictioneugenicsfactory workerfascismfree willgas chambergenetic engineering • Gullivers Travels (1726) • H G Wells • humanitys future • impoverished masses • impoverishment • industrial ageindustrial revolution • industrial warfare • It Cant Happen Here (1935) • Jack London • Jonathan Swift • mass entertainment • mass media ageMetropolis (1927) • modern anxieties • nightmare world • Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)nuclear war • oligarchy • oppressionoverpopulationparadise • perfect world • political structures • povertyprogress narratives • resource depletion • science fiction • Sinclair Lewis • slumsocial rolessocial structures • space colony • space travelspeculative fiction • squalor • surveillance state • TED-Ed • The Handmaids Tale (1985) • The Iron Heel (1908) • The RepublicThe Time MachineThomas Moretotalitarianism • tyrannical oligarchy • tyranny of modernismutopia • V for Vendetta (2006) • Watchmen (2009) • We (1924) • Westworld (1973) • WW1WWII • Yevgeny Zamyatin

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 MARCH 2013

WW1 Razzle Dazzle ship camouflage

"Most camouflage is based on the idea of concealment and blending in with its surroundings. However another school of thought has argued for making the item in question appear to be a mashup of unrelated components. Naval camoufleurs found this theory particularly appealing. Blending didn't work because ships operated in two different and constantly changing color environments – sea and sky. Any camo that concealed in one environment was usually spectacularly conspicuous in others.

Norman Wilkinson, a British naval officer and painter, suggested a scheme that came to be known as Dazzle or Razzle Dazzle painting. Wilkinson believed that breaking up a ship's silhouette with brightly contrasting geometric designs would make it harder for U–boat captains to determine the ship's course."

(FoundNYC Inc, 4 April 2009)

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1917angular shapesappearanceapplication of design • battleship • blend in • blending • blending in • blocks of colourbreaking up • bulk • camo • camouflage • camouflage pattern • colourcolour schemeconcealment • conspicuous • constantly changing • dazzle • dazzle painting • dazzle ship painting • dead-end technology • disruption pattern • disruptive colouration • disruptive patterndistortiongeometric designsinterruptioninvisibilitymilitary • naval camouflage • naval camoufleurs • navy • Norman Wilkinson • optical illusionoutlinepainting • Razzle Dazzle • sea • seascape • shapesshipsilhouetteskyspatial ordersurroundings • U-boat • unrelated components • vessel • visual abstractionvisual patternvorticismWorld War IWW1zig-zag

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 NOVEMBER 2009

Sound Mirrors: dead-end technology

"Pioneered by the obsessive Dr W.S. Tucker of the Royal Engineers, the concrete sound mirrors were intended to provide early warning of incoming enemy aeroplanes and airships about to attack coastal towns.

But with the development of faster aircraft and the increasing racket from the holiday resort down the road, the effectiveness of the mirrors twindled as an aircraft would be within sight by the time it had been located. The last nail was finally driven into the coffin of this uniquely English folly by the evolution of radar systems, so by 1934 they had tragically became obsolete."

(David Barrington, 04.07.2006)

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19161930s1934 • acoustic mirrors • aeroplaneaircraft • airships • architectureconcretedead-end technology • early warning • engineeringEnglandenvironmentindustrial archaeologyindustrial designlistening earsmilitary complexmilitary hardwaremirrornational securityobsolescenceobsolete technologyradar • Royal Engineers • sound mirror • techno-scientifictechnologyUK • W.S. Tucker • World War IWW1

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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