John Thackara | Essays

Utopia is Here

Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner, made in 1982, portrays a dystopian Los Angeles as it might be in 2019. In just eight years from now we are due to discover and find out whether or not the film was an accurate prediction.

Do we have to wait that long? Many urban sites today already are at least as disturbing as those in the film.

Volker Sattel's film about nuclear power (above), to be previewed in Berlin on 6 April, is filled with disturbing shots of a future gone wrong — only his images are not fiction.

Neither is this shot below from “The Zone of Alienation” — the exclusion area around Chernobyl. An area the size of Switzerland, it will be uninhabitable for the next 300 years.

When Sweden lifted its ban on nuclear power in 2009, Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson said she was doing it "for the sake of my children and grandchildren."

In Fukushima, today, here is the terrified grandchild of a nuclear family that was promised a utopian energy future once before:

For that little girl, and her family, the uncertainty of her future will be as much a burden as the sure knowledge that she will become ill. Nobody can know.

What we do know is that energy is never free. We just act is if it were.

Unter Kontrolle [Under Control] will be previewed at Haus der Kulturen der Welt on 6 April.

Posted in: Science , Social Good

Comments [2]

Utopia, indeed. History tells us that any movement and/or ideology that promises the aforementioned should be treated with polemic skepticism, better yet, a collective cold shoulder. My frustration with nuclear energy is not so much, what the alarmist school of environmentalism is using to gather the herd. ...;but, it has much more to do with the illogical nature, hubris if you will, of assuming that we'll stumble upon or create another energy source as ubiquitous and cheap as fossil fuels.
These delusions of grandeur are also accompanied by banal digital age fantasies that technology or design will save us.

I'll continue this rant* another time.

A fine article, John, as usual;
especially, the bit about the grandchildren. A little 'EAARTH' inside joke. Nice.
Benny V.

Of course it's all insane - but do you seriously think it will be less so without nuclear power? Donovan Gillman
Urban Choreography

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