Museum Building Program :: Walking Away
All this recent unpleasantness has made me think, what would we do if the worst happens? If Rupert Murdoch, for instance, should have his nefarious way [for I am now convinced that he is behind all that is evil in the world and most particularly has designs on Terra Incognita – and, can I tell you honey, he’s no graphic designer – they’re pretty ugly …
Where was I?
Oh yes! So if Murdoch does to us what he wants to do to the media globally, what are our defences? I mean, we have the >attack anemones, and Scam-Scam seems to be making progress with the lighter-than-air submarines, but the sponge-gun is still on the drawing board and I can hardly lob sponge-cats by hand at the invading forces.
We can’t simply rely on our superior forces and intelligence. There’s the faintest of slender chances that we might somehow not prevail. I have to think of ways to protect the things that are important to me.
As many of you know our current premises are merely temporary and I am STILL waiting for my chief architect to get me plans for our permanent home. But this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, it’s giving me time to consider other possibilities, both defensive and offended.
As a pacifist by virtue of both nurture and talent, my first instinct, when faced with unwarranted aggression, is to remove myself. Obviously now, with responsibility for the museum and arguably the finest collection of dust in the world, I can’t just pick up sticks and skidoo. But I may have found a solution or two.
Actually I think it might be one solution, but in two parts.
The first part is British architect Ron Herron. In 1964 In an article in the architecture project, Archigram, he first outlined the walking city. This was a massive mobile robotic structure, with its own intelligence, that could freely roam the world, moving to wherever their resources or manufacturing abilities were needed.
Almost exactly like Howl’s Moving Castle, but without the story.
This is the plan that really sold me on the concept. You can see how it would add to the landscape of Terra Incognita. *[hmmm note to self; if we vanquish the RoTtens, we could put a tax on them and then we could afford a flock of walking cities…]
I should have picked up on him at the time – but better late etc. Besides which, I’m not seeing many other national leaders investing in ambulating metropolises. Although given that no one had really solved ‘the giant ambulating AI robots’ part, that’s perhaps unsurprising.
No one, that is, until Dutchman and god, Theo Jansen, realised one very important truth. Things were going to change, the weather was going to hell in a handbasket and the environment was bound to follow. The future thought Jansen is going to be a big desert.
He has come up with the obvious solution; ambulating robots that live on wind and can stalk the dunes forever. So far this demiurge has created herds of gigantic spiky creatures whose skeletal forms are made from light and cheap plastic components.
But more recently, he has been investigating ambling robots that can hold several people. Animaris Rhinoceros Transport, a two-ton walking room is also powered by wind energy, which can be set into motion by just one person dragging it along.
He says a future version -- a 12-ton behemoth, big enough to have several rooms, is on the drawing board.
But I think he’s thinking way too small.
Well, it’s a very small step from a few people to a city, surely. I can’t wait to put the concept to him. I think he’s going to really love it.
I tell you, this could really be what I’ve been looking for. It wouldn’t have to be a full-sized city; just big enough for me, Inky’s collection of ancient mummified insects, the museum’s collections (and there’s only a few hundred of the larger ones), and a few other odds and ends. We could use a walking city to patrol our borders, stopping all unauthorised access to our shores – and, if things got too threatening, we could skedaddle -- I mean, retreat -- in dignity and comfort.
Strandbeest site >>
See videos of Jensen’s Strandbeests in action >>
Walking City first discovered in moonriver which has a wealth of links, thanks Mr X!
PS Since Inky disappeared, having a spider friend seems to have become fashionable! This is making it even more difficult to find my errant arachnid. Composer Roger Bourland, for instance, over at Red Black Window, has a beautiful black widow. He also has an ant colony that lives inside a block of transparent blue gel -- an insect storage concept that I think Inky will whole-heartedly embrace when he returns.