All That Rises Will Dissipate

Jeremy Hight

Postulating and analyzing the future and even near future is ultimately akin to divining with a rod calibrated as best as possible with game theory. Will plastic plates be melted into sinks after dinners and collected to be reused? No. Will schoolroom dividers be made of jets of air? No. Will there be small hand held communicators? Yep. Will there be robots to help us with tasks? Yep. These are all concepts that began as hypothetical models in science fiction and postulated science fact. Some of the early promotional materials of new plastics 50 years ago did speak of this melting plate future (think about all the morsel particles, bones, bits of whatever else down the drain, sewer rats, waste products, drain cleaners and whatever else collecting into a psychedelic morass of plastic and rot soup for some poor souls to chip out to reconstitute to melt again for the next dinner party). The 1962 Seattle world's fair boasted of future school rooms keeping kids in their seats with dividers made of jets of air (but it also predicted a moon landing and cordless phones).

Sometimes it is misfortune like the accident on the test track that cost the world Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car that would have changed cars 60 years ago with models designed on air resistance and aerodynamics.

There is a line between science fiction and science fact and sometimes it just happens that the time is right, the money is there, the fortune causes no odd mishaps to scare off the investors. Other times it is just too ambitious and idealistic to translate the gorge, that great or paper thin divide.

The discussion of utopia being doomed is tired and worn as a flat earth map stored in a silo, yet it has a place here.

The Utopian city, its society, its doctrine and idea(l)s is born in fiction, pristine. A concept untested is rarefied, parallel, un-distilled, malleable yet seeming whole as it is not of this world. It is of fiction, of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. The doom is in the translation. The demise is in the human factor. The decay is inevitable once it hits the air and its toxins of possibility, uncertainty and difference of perception and opinion. The roles are disputed, the ideal tested by the mundane in unseen ways and tested, there is greed and distrust in the hearts of enough of a populace by mathematical average to make Machiavelli rise up in his moldy grave and applaud the further proof of his thesis.

The perversion of a well worn phrase and title yields this: “Everything that rises must dissipate”.

The realization of an ideal is never ideal and the initial impetus born in the imagined must battle with its real world replacement and some would argue, die into our imperfections. The artist's manifesto also is born of ideal, of opposition, of reaction, a conceptual escape hatch. They also have been shown to fail in time. Some fail obviously as too lofty, too bloated in youth and the burning itch to topple the threatening shadow dropping towers of the status quo and canon in tandem, their very words stretched then with great breath like red balloons turned dull opaque. Others fail as they are ignored, a claim to piss on the street as a spectacle for some group to make a mark that is brushed off. Still others “fail” into realization

What does one fight if the enemy is defeated, concedes or disappears? One long lost manifesto mentioned third hand was said to be, when translated and condensed from its 5 fiery pages to say this :

“why can't there be more vivid color and red in paintings? This must change.” It did a few years later

and with opposition gone the group disbanded, defeated by victory in a sense. Thus the initial impetus, its utopian decree for a perfect solution dissipates. Dystopia is then born in its demise and then too dissolves.

The one place that is still the escape hatch, still of other worlds, new possibilities, decrees of movements and movements of new societies is ironically Science Fiction itself. It makes no claims beyond postulating, dreaming, divining for deep waters or simply for the journey itself. Future will always sift itself out in time, always slipping incrementally forward, with history cooling behind, paved by what failed as much as what made its mark for an instant, an era or longer.