Tools for the Anthropocene.

ESSAY: Wakefield x New Models: Living in the Back Loop

"Field Notes from the Anthropocene: Living in the Back Loop" by Stephanie Wakefield for New Models / video accompaniment by New Models (2019). See also the original text from June 2017 in The Brooklyn Rail.

...Like a Shell futurologist, one can imagine multiple disastrous futures for Miami. Will it become a southern Super Venice, a la Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York of 2140, a watery playground for the rich and capital speculation: Zaha Hadid-designed high-rise condominiums retrofitted so as to actually function with permanently elevated sea levels; floating tourist traps on Ocean Boulevard hocking $35 margaritas for what remains of the world’s non-inundated middle classes; a motley and still surviving working class that ferries in from the overstuffed, substandard housing complexes where they live a kind of managerial socialism of long lines, board meetings, and just-in-time and rarely adequate dinners?39 Perhaps the hard realism of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife is more apt. The “haves” live in a series of Amillarah Private Island arcologies, closed-loop glass-domed living systems with luxury malls, fine eateries, and augmented reality advertisements in their centers and ringed by air-conditioned penthouses whose waste water is filtered into the loop, while the “have-nots” are clustered in camps along the new coast lines where they have the new Dust Bowl refugees (the “Floridians”) gathering around pay-to-drink Red Cross water dispensers as they try to fend off the latest Chikungunya or Zika.40 Or imagine a super Katrina resulting in something a little more Odds Against Tomorrow: Miami a post-flood “dead zone” abandoned by government and left to rewild, reclaimed by pythons and alligators and scores of individualists with camping packs on their backs starting from scratch, spending their days transforming soggy banks into their dream apartments and building ramshackle boat homes amidst growing marshland. Meanwhile, more refugee camps in the background. Each of these visions undoubtedly carries an element of truth, but only if we allow it...

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ESSAY: Wakefield x New Models: Living in the Back Loop

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