Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Visions of Futures Past
What is striking to me about this collection of images is how prominently flight figures in their view of the future. Most of the images feature people or machines in flight: winged firemen pouring water on a fire in the uppers story of a building, winged policemen chasing a thief fleeing in a flying machine, winged duck hunters rising up to shoot their prey, winged tennis players enjoying "air tennis." Flight would become as everyday an event as walking or taking a bicycle ride, they thought, and the abundance of personalized flying machines in the collection makes it clear this fascination with flight was deeply personal, not simply dispassionate technological projection. We have always longed to soar among the birds -- still do, although now our imaginations have been tamed by the thoroughly unromantic realites of cost, safety, and the inherent engineering difficulties of personalized flight. That does not keep us from sky diving, though, does it?