Thursday, May 18, 2006
The ass of an essay
Dubai is Ourtopia. It is a place where multiple utopias are accommodated side-by-side for consumption by the masses weaned on a philosophy that the best things in life can always be had for a price. It expresses itself in such a fractured way as to displace time, making the city 'timeless', ever ready for the arrival of the next Big Thing. Dubai can be thrill, Dubai can even be real, Dubai can be everything except authentic. But perhaps it does not want to be. The city represents a city-sized amusement park filled with imported rides, artificial conditions and manufactured histories - this is how Dubai chooses to be understood. Lacking depth of history, the city has opted instead to be easily understood and instantly consumable by all persons, using an 'abbreviated shorthand culture for the masses' that is understood worldwide thanks to the integrated global economy and mass media. It is the perfect global city, as far as its accessibility goes. And it is precisely this lack of pretension, this starkness and clarity within the shorthand that imbues Dubai with larger-than-life qualities. After all, as in all amusement parks, 'the value of the experience is not the ride itself but its vicariousness.'

'Disneyland at Christmas', John Carey, The Faber Book of Utopias, p 458
Ibid, p 456

posted by Hong at 3:52 am | Permalink |