I was reminded of this twisted stream of consciousness by a post on Greg Allen's blog about high-tech yurts:
Don't get me wrong, I love me some yurts. But like the equally lovable geodesic dome, something always seems lost in between ideal sustainable concept and hippie-dippy, style-free, domestic execution.I'll admit my first response to this report was "Yikes." Unlike Greg, who seems to have a long-standing opinion on yurts, I've only recently fallen in love with the idea of them. Travelling in Kyrgyzstan (which, to give you some idea of the importance of yurts to their sense of identity, has a stylized representation of the roof of the traditional yurt on their national flag [the photo of the monument in central Bishkek above displays the same design]), we not only encountered countless yurts and people who lived in them, but learned that it took Bambino's Aunt five years of constant work to build her yurt.
Finally, though, someone's made a yurt for the Wallpaper Dwell designblog generation. That's he Ecoshack promise, anyway. Their Nomad Yurt has a bit of a kick to it. Plus, it's available in lyboo, and when the bright red nylon outershell comes available, you'll be able to set it up on the slope, and no one will snowboard into the side of you. Very important. [And not just because your yurt's shaped like a mogul.]
Mind you, I understand that there were perhaps better things she could have done with her time and the new high-tech yurt would free her up to do them, but there's something so beautiful and human about the fact that she did make it, with her own hands (we have some gorgeous rugs she made for us that we love as well), that I fear we're losing. I realize this is not a new concern. Each new advance that frees mankind from the drudgery of some thankless task, like spinning cotton, knitting clothes, or what have you, brings similar worries, even though they all come with their own new mythology and romance (it may take time, but eventually we'll project positive associations onto any gadget).
After 9/11, when the potential for a cataclysmic event that might plunge a good chunk of the country back into the dark ages seemed suddenly totally thinkable, I took stock of what I thought my survival skills are. Could I start a fire with two stones? Could I build a fort? Could I capture, kill, and skin a rabbit or other source of food? What about clothes? How truly resourceful am I out there, in the wild? I like to think I'd be OK (who doesn't?), but without access to Wikipedia, how would I find out how to do such things?
We watched the catch-up program on Lost last night. We've never really gotten into that program, and the truth is Bambino flipped between that, American Idol, and Deal or No Deal constantly (can you say ADHD?), so I'm still mostly confused about what's going on on that island. But that scenario is more or less the same as the post-apocalyptic one mentioned above, as is the reality show Survivor, suggesting to me that I"m not the only one thinking about such things. So I"m wondering, despite the way we'll still project romance onto any new technology---but because we're so far removed from creating/hunting down the essentials for our lives (food, shelter, clothing)---if we're not subconsciously a bit alarmed by our collective ignorance about surviving without supermarkets and UPS.
People who didn't know they had it in them will emerge from war-torn hell holes, doing what they have to, but mostly by scavenging the remnants of what technology-built processes left behind. How long would any of us pampered souls truly last on a deserted island? Sorry for the morose post...but if artists don't know the answers to these questions, we're potentially royally screwed.