Friday, January 18, 2008

Which is more real - a Virtual World or the Real World?

Posted to BldgBlog, January 16, 2008
by Geoff Manaugh Archinect "team member" and the founding editor of BLDGBLOG. Senior Editor at Dwell magazine

[Image: Place de la Trinité, Lyon, photographed by Emiliano Calero Cortés].
"The Arab emirate of Dubai will build a replica of Lyons," we read, "under a $685M deal signed with the French city last week." This brings up the interesting question of whether an entire city can franchise itself. [Image: Place de la Trinité, Lyon, photographed by Emiliano Calero Cortés].The resulting metropolis will be called Lyons-Dubai City, and it "will cover an area of about 700 acres, roughly the size of the Latin Quarter of Paris, and will contain the university, a hotel school, a film library, subsidiaries of Lyon museums and a football training center run by Olympique Lyonnais."

It will only be complete, however, if the existing population of Lyons (aka Lyon) is cloned, raised in the exact same way as the source population, reading the same books, dating the same people, working in the same offices, etc. – so that they can wander round, eating tomato salads in sidewalk cafes, stunning future tourists from China. It'll be a cross-cultural Tom McCarthy novel – precise and choreographed reenactments on the scale of two cities – or perhaps some surreal, heavily Gallicized remake of Westworld: instead of being killed, however, you simply get over-fromage'd frites.

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