In making stuff, we seem to increasingly be looking backwards as we move forward. Culture is less about making new things than how exactly to bring old things back in just the right balance. Stealing from the past can be dismissed as lazy, but it’s an extremely nuanced process with infinite variations – figuring out the compelling essence and which parts are just obsolete or incidental. The real work of the future may well be that of curator/creators sifting through all the junk (both material and conceptual) to retain and combine things of value that resonate with the present.
I’ve always been obsessed with new-old things. Add other obsessions like LA and spending too much time on a video game and you got LA Noire, the new release by Rockstar Games. It blends storytelling, new acting technology, painstaking production, geographic history, new music, old music, and political commentary to create a pop multi-media extravaganza that reconnects us to a time and place sorta similar and sorta different from the now.
You’ll have to play the game to experience a reality in which LA had light rail, local stores, no freeways, vacant land, Victorian suburbs, people wearing hats unironically and no mini-malls. But if you want to really be inside architecture showcasing craft and symbolism, see Spanish history, watch old movies and vaudeville, lament developer/transportation corruption, and hang out with junkie musicians, you can still find it in this handy chart of real sites seen in the game…
:::LA NOIRE: IRL:::