So maybe cyberpunk isn't that cool.
I mean, Blade Runner is indeed one of my all-time favorite films, but when real cities begin to take on its dystopian aesthetic, well...then I don't think I need to tell you we have problems. Specifically, problems with the environment.
The photo above is not from Blade Runner. It is an actual photo of Beijing, China from 2013. The density of smog and pollution in that city is so great that it is actually visible from space. It also just happens to create the visually stunning Blade Runner vibe that you see on this post. Here's another view of Beijing from Kotaku:
As a Blade Runner fan, I think it's all marvelous to look at. First of all, in terms of physical space, Beijing seems to have a similar urban design philosophy as Los Angeles from the movie. "We ran out of room to move out so we built up." Think of a city forced to grow on the vertical and not the horizontal. Very cyberpunk. That is not where the similarities end, thought.
Not only have the Chinese kept the angular architectural designs of the film as opposed to these pandurate blobs that keep popping up in America, not only is there a proliferation of LCD screen advertising just as in the movie, but they also get the atmosphere down. They think of everything. Neat, huh?
That is unless you have to live there.
The air quality index in Beijing must be in the absolute ugly end of the spectrum. Any living thing in the vicinity of the city must seriously worry for its health given the amount of toxic chemicals they breathe in each day. Aside from humans and house pets that must suffer an existence with them, I can't imagine there are any other animals to be found (aside from cockroaches and rats. Any city is bound to have those perennials.) Really makes you wonder about society. Then again, I've been doing that for quite a while.
Just in case you're about to reach for the razor blades over the swirling toilet that is our society, here's something on the lighter side. If you must experience a dystopian existence, why not replicate with Legos? A few innovative designers have created their own cyberpunk city rendered in Lego. It has a few features over Beijing from what I can tell, namely a mech design/repair center.
The future is now. Question is, is it one we want?
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