28 May 2011

Concrete Islands

"Photographed by Bel Geddes’ associate Richard Garrison, 'The City of Tomorrow' appears as a pristine metropolis only slightly occluded by wisps of fog and yet draped in dramatic shadows. Some photographs utilize shallow focus to give a sense of the extraordinary scale and space being depicted. In others, the model appears as if photographed on a sound stage. Yet all of the advertisements follow a similar structure. They begin with a quote from Bel Geddes, touted in the ads as an 'expert in future trends.' From that point on, explanatory texts describe Garrison’s photographs, many which focus on the relation between the city and the highway (or architecture and automobile). Everything about these images indeed suggest that the relationship between these two is unequal. More importantly, they envision the year 1960 as much more than an era of mobile urbanism, but one where highway planning becomes the primary engine for urban design."

Where B. F. Skinner and Le Corbusier cross paths. Behavioralism, advertising, urban design, and the commercial branding of the future. Enrique Ramirez at a456 offers an overview of the team behind the City of Tomorrow from General Motors' "Futurama" exhibit at the 1939 World Fair.

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