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Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E44: Fertile Dystopia with Matt Novak

mattnovakColin Marshall sits down in Culver City with Matt Novak, author of Paleofuture, a blog that looks into the future that never was. They discuss what goes through is mind when he sees LAX’s Theme Building; why 1960s visions of jetpacks and flying cars have kept their hold on the American imagination; whether we only remember the wrong predictions of the future, or whether all predictions got the future wrong; why you always have to hedge about who predicted or invented what; how a society’s visions of the future reveal that society’s vulnerabilities; the problematic notion of “invention” itself; why we love the Nikola Teslas of the world, who give us a chance to tell “great stories” instead of messy history; Uber and Lyft as symptoms of a “broken society”; how their generation seems to have grown up on dystopias, not utopias; the technological signs of a new Cold War in the news; how “face-burning” technology ends up working for us in consumer electronics; Los Angeles’ as a “city of reinvention that can somehow feel stale” full of freeways as works of retrofuturistic sculpture; his three carless years here; whether current visions of future Los Angeles seem more plausible than past visions of future Los Angeles; his search for the “relaxed version” of the city; and how he deals with “a society that does not consider itself a society.”

Download the interview here as an MP3 or on iTunes.

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