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What will survive into the future? Which State? Which language? Into Eternity follows the spearheads of this discussion, the Finns, who deal with it by avoiding it altogether. The problem of handling nuclear waste responsibly (a statement which proves to be oximoronic) is so pressing that it seems the only way to resolve it is to release it from its problematization and simply take action. A series of interviews with the private company that is undertaking the 100 year process of depositing Finland’s (only Finland’s) nuclear waste in the Onkalo (literally “hiding place”) displays one of the most provocative collection of blank faces. The repository must store and conceal the material from any disturbance for at least 100,000 years (that number, while inconceivable in itself, is smaller by a factor of 10 than the American one). The curiosity of mankind and the inconsistency of civilizations over time prove to be more of a problem than finding a hiding place in the earth. The scale of time above ground is so fast for such an endeavor that there’s a certain increase in assurance in underground deposits.
In a time when architects are just as concerned with information technologies as they are in structures, this film finds its relevance in showing how the project of sustaining a material condition is a lot simpler than sustaining a conceptual one. How to communicate to the future victim/perpetrator of this hiding place that they should not approach it? What is the form of this “marker?” What is a monument to and of the future? A multilingual explanatory stelae? Infographics? An emotion (a la Eisenman meets Lebbeus)? Encrypted or conceited message to deter or mislead visitors? Or is the best communication not to have any at all? Respondents in this film describe how maintaining oblivion is even more taxing than maintaining a memory.

Very few decisions can be made in the space of uncertainty, but countries like Finland have a protocol for operating in this darkness. The logic speak of the general logic under catastrophies, like fires in buildings: retardant. The project provides a series of strategies that would delay human discovery and intervention in the future. That darkness, though, cannot be simply maintained materially (which can easily be made to be self sustaining); it must also be buttressed by an intentional obfuscation of information. Darkness in this way takes more enery than light.

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“In the desert 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles is a suburb abandoned in advance of itself—the unfinished extension of a place called California City.In the desert 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles is a suburb abandoned in advance of itself—the unfinished extension of a place called California City.”

It would be instrumental for us to think about the record of cities throughout time so we may make some decisions about which places we want to preserve and which places would be more conducive to constant change, and of course, everything between these extremes. To that end, we should think about delineating 4 or 5 different types of cities: 1. Reconstructed Cities (Paris, Berlin, Rotterdam, West Bank cities, Dresden); 2. Instant Cities (like new capitals such as Brazilia); 3. Frozen Cities (Paris, New York?); 4. Constantly Changing Cities (American Cities); 5. Abandoned Cities (California City, Chernobyl, Machu Pichu).

-yb

Chernobyl has become a wildlife haven in its abandonment. Some scientists believe the new vegetative growth and animal life show signs of mutation and are worried the species (especially birds) will affect outside habitats. Radiation is also affecting tree growth – confusing a hormone signal that a tree uses to determine which way to grow.

More at National Geographic

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They poured tons of concrete into an ant colony’s hole and then started digging it out to reveal the elaborate underground city. Basically lots of channels of circulation and ventilation and then these ventricles, these round chambers at the ends. (It’s long but try to watch it through) Lots to think about as far as negative space and reconstruction.

-yb