Arts Learning From Dubai
posted by October 26 at 9:56 AMon
There is no end, no resistance, no reality in Dubai.
Seeing and reading about the completed, incomplete, and planned big buildings in that 21st Century city is like reading the short stories of Borges. It’s all magic and madness, flying carpets and mirrors.
But there is something else besides the sorcery of capital that’s making this powerful hallucination possible, something ancient and geographic. It has to do with the nature of mirages. One never suffers from them when in the forest; they only appear when one is in the desert. The desert’s emptiness is so severe that one begins to see things that aren’t there. Because reality has failed to produce anything, the imagination projects trees, water, people on the screen of the heat wave. In the forest, because there is too much life going on (insects, plants, trees, leaves), it is not the eyes that are tricked but the ears; they hear things that are not there—the leopard in the branches, the killer behind the bush. (This is what made Blair Witch Project so scary: we hear everything we need to hear but see nothing we need to see until the very end.) Capital, like an hallucinogen, does its best work in areas that have been burned to the dust by the heat of our over-loving star.