Tag Archives: hubristic monuments

Tapered To A Claw

At this time of year, our thoughts drift to the North Atlantic in the year 1912. Steaming at top speed towards the American dream machine, RMS Titanic represents coal-fired energy; class hierarchy; technophilia; and unabashed hubris. Somewhere out there in the dark, floats a frozen antagonist, representing Deep Time and all those forces that elude human grasp.

Most art and poetry that reflects on her doomed voyage focuses on the behavior and disposition of passengers and crew; we prefer to contemplate the iceberg. Below, an excerpt from a longer poem by E.J. Pratt. Born in Newfoundland and a keen student of the Northern waters, Pratt knew a thing or two about large chunks of ice.

 

 

THE CLAW WAITS FOR MIDNIGHT

 

 

Needless to say, we learned nothing from that disaster, nor from any of the countless disasters that followed. As inverted utopians, we remain unable to imagine the implications of our clever tech.

Full speed ahead.

 


Power and Density

A wind farm of eleven industrial turbines off the coast of Aberdeenshire has been approved by the Scottish government. The project was opposed by Donald Trump, who claimed that the turbine “monstrosities” would interfere with the expansion of his golf paradise.

Mr. Trump recently disclosed plans for a 140 bedroom hotel that he claimed would be listed “among the finest hotels in Europe”, with one condition: “If plans for the ugly industrial wind turbines proceed, we would obviously not build this hotel.”

aberwindfarm

WIND FARM DEMO

Here at DP, we are highly skeptical of wind farms at the scale now contemplated for coastal locations, not because of their impact on tourist vistas but because we question the projections for net energy generation from the costly turbines; we would even venture a prediction that the total cost of these “farms” across the full cycle of their operation (including as of yet unknown health and ecological impacts) will significantly exceed the value of the energy produced.

For now, though, let us focus on what Mr. Trump proposes as a more attractive visual spectacle for visitors to Aberdeenshire:

trumphotel

WORLD CLASS GOLF FARM

We are struck by the remarkable aesthetic similarity between the wind farm turbines and the “turbined” energy vents of this monstrous aggregation of rentable sleeping units.

The nautical reference for this particular mode of tourist accommodation is provided by the Carnival cruise turbine:

carnycruise

GLOBAL VACATION FARM

Stripping away all pretense and ornament, the deep aesthetic for both the Trump hotel and the Carnival cruiser derives from that ultimate expression of dense conveyance:

marcopolo

THE AESTHETIC OF DENSITY

The more dense the concentration of energy and experience, the greater the profit, with all the trappings of power. Yet in the wind we hear a timeless prophecy, that all these hubristic monuments are destined for the same end:

golfer

RUINS OF AN ANCIENT SOLAR POWER GENERATOR