Look at this….just look at it. Awesome isn’t it? I was introduced to this stunning structure and several other abandoned monuments from Eastern Europe by one of the fellas from work and I haven’t been able to drag my gaze from them since. See for yourselves. Check them all out here.
These monolithic erections were commissioned in the 60s and 70s by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place or where concentration camps once stood. Designed by different sculptors and architects they initially attracted millions of visitors drawn to the powerful symbolism of patriotic strength. The last two decades, however, have seen these mighty creations left for dead, discarded like the sorry victims of those terrible times they’d been built to memorialize.
I need to make a pilgrimage, to dedicate a trip solely to visit these unbelievably nuts achievements in design . They look like the future my childhood promised but never delivered. How bloody long is it gonna take to perfect the light saber? (and before you say “Star Wars isn’t set in the future, it’s set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”….I know don’t be fucking pedantic).
It got me to thinking (like a nerdy Carrie Bradshaw indulging in the pleasures of sci-fi rather than sodomization at the hands of some greased up lothario) what happened to the future? Sure we’ve got mobile phones, big brother is watching us 24/7, there are moving televisual billboards on every street, interactive whiteboards (thanks Jess Jones for the revelation that teachers can no longer throw board rubbers at unruly kids’ heads) and unlimited knowledge is available via the internet but at a time when clever sciencey people have made neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light I can’t be alone in feeling a little underwhelmed that we’re not darting around in flying cars and instructing our robot slaves to take out the recycling.
The past twenty years have seen us live through the biggest communication revolution since man first learnt to formulate words rather than grunt, poke and point but since those heady days of inventing wizardry that culminated in the production of the motor car, the aeroplane and eventually man’s trip to the moon (or did it conspiracy fans?) we haven’t really had anything as mind-blowing as say, the hoverboard from ‘Back To The Future’ or ‘Star Trek’s’ transporters. Jesus, people are still banging on about 3D at the cinema which is a) still shit and b) invented back in the 1950s. Now, there are a lot of things that were big in the 50s (racism, sexual inequality, old school paedoing) but thankfully the world has moved on (not the youth-centric utopia of ‘Logan’s Run’ but, you know, an ok place to live). Let’s do the same with 3D, let’s just move on. It’s pointless and has never improved a movie going experience, ever (except maybe the severed penis in ‘Piranha 3D’ – now that was ace) and it adds an extra £1.50 to your cinema ticket. That’s nearly half a pint.
I digress. Where was I?
When I look at those images from Eastern Europe I’m reminded of the grungey nightmarish visions of the future depicted in the rain soaked streets of ‘Blade Runner’ or the radioactive wasteland featured in ‘Hardware’. Hey, I’m grateful that our attempts to clean up the planet (environmentally at least. I’ll leave our political failings for another post) mean that, for now, I get to breathe cleanish air and gaze on a sky not scorched black 24hours a day. It just isn’t how I imagined the world when, as a wide-eyed geek of an adolescent, I flicked through the pages of 2000AD, endlessly rewatched ‘The Terminator’ or wrote short stories that painfully tried to cross-breed Douglas Adams with ‘Alien’. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no desire to see The Big Apple transformed into the lawless penal colony of ‘Escape From New York’ (I love the city way too much) and I’m turning veggie as soon as Soylent Green is on the menu, but I just wish the 21st Century had turned out a little…you know…cooler.