1. Some places are built on swamps. You feel it most in the summer, when the air turns murky, rancid, darkly potent. And some places are fabricated out of thin air—from blood and sweat, and perfected ideologies. Dubai is among the latter, existing at the interstice between speculation and the geography of a dream. It’s a funny, beautiful, futuristic place to grow up in, where announcements become architecture within a matter of months. At the same time, it’s a difficult city to read. Even after several decades, its denizens can feel like they’re still waiting for it to make sense, become legible. When we left Dubai, we thought that our only relation had been to its people, and not to the city itself.
In our inaugural issue, we wondered whether cultural production could have terror. We asked how you might speak a place, and also how you speak from a place, or non-place. When we returned to Dubai, however, we realized something else was at play. Perhaps cities and places had anterior lives, and could speak for themselves.
2. This time around, we selected 15 projects that interrogate the futures of place. Together, they present diverse interpretations of ‘speculative geography,’ realized across urban, rural and temporal fabrics. Topics range from psychogeographic meanderings through Kathmandu and the psychic topography of New York, to displacement and belonging in Accra and the Spanish Canary Islands. Others look to planned cities in Brazil and in a mysterious totalitarian state, Indonesian arts education, the cartographic sonics of mortgaged real estate, and placehacking London’s skyline. A third category considers virtual terrains, with pieces on the socially mediated red carpet, and the need for a new politics to go with our increasingly weird techy futures. And lastly, the purely speculative: a corpus of networked lighthouses in New Zealand, an Afghan agricultural belt-made-machine, a carnivalistic, biosynthetic robot zoo and what would have happened if the atomic bomb was dropped on Berlin.
3. In this volume, designed by Lejla Redja, we continued to experiment with design. How else might we be able to suggest a reverse skeuomorph, and implicate the screen on a page? Does navigating the bookform insist on mechanical gestures, like the page flip? Must the leaves be attached, glued, or stitched? Or can we extend the metaphor of tabbed browsing, and store data—characters and pixels—within the covers of a book? We thought about the accordion, the folder, Spaces, paint and paper swatches, the address bar, and the favicon in various states of unzip. The result is a printed constellation of places—those that are, or will be, or could have been.
— The text was written by the Editors of The State. Continue HERE
FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE:
Jansen Aui, Nick Roberts and Henry Stephens — Syndromes and a Sentry
Nick Axel — Metric | Space
Khairani Barokka — Indonesia’s Double Mountain
Greg Barton—Marja || Marja
M.F. Benigno — Dériving KTM
Frances Bodomo — The House at Haatso
DEMILIT — They Came to the Desert and were Consumed by a Flickering Fortress
Daniel Fernández Pascual — Displaced Soils
Bradley L. Garrett — Edgework: Getting Close, Getting Cut, Getting Out
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi — A New City for a New Man
Karen Gregory — Geography of Intimacy
Sarah Handelman — Faded Maps, Fleeting Histories
John Krauss — Let’s Map!
Justin Pickard — Chalice Flag, Hydroelectric Sublime
Adam Rothstein — New Politic