Open Thread #8: Superfuturism & Anitiquity

( “Fade to Red” by StudioQube. Source: deviantART)

Thoughts for the weekend, from boingboing:

Marilyn from National Geographic sez, “I think you’ll love these Shanghai photos by Fritz Hoffmann in March National Geo. It’s hard to believe such a superfuturistic megacity also looks like a village from 100 years ago.”

What she said. There are lots of places in the world where seamless high-tech and ancient cobblestones exist side by side, but I’ve never been anywhere in which you can go from one to the other so quickly as Shanghai. One moment you’re on the set of Blade Runner, then you turn a corner and you’re in a historical drama, with no sign of glass-and-steel in sight.

And of course most Korean cities are some of those places, and perhaps Seoul in particular. Something surprisingly absent from the discussion at boingboing though, is that in many senses such places can be considered ecotones, a geographical term for the zone where 2 ecosystems meet, and all the much richer and more diverse than either because of the ensuing interaction.

Seriously, nearly 10 years after I arrived in Korea, I still love wandering around such districts occasionally: the constant juxtapositions to be experienced there remind of how I felt when I first came. Unfortunately however, Korea’s misguided attempts at “modernization” means that they may not be around much longer, so make sure to enjoy them while you still can.

To end on a more positive note then, here is my latest favorite K-pop song, or again my new favorite Areia remix at least: Because of you (너 때문에), by After School (애프터스쿨; download the MP3 here). Clearly portraying a lesbian relationship despite the ostensibly heterosexual lyrics, I’ll definitely be analyzing it in depth at some point, but until then I’d be more interested in hearing your own thoughts. Enjoy!^^

Update: And before I forget, here’s a remix of Tell Me Your Wish (소원을 말해봐) by Girls’ Generation (소녀시대) also. But by a different DJ this time, and in my opinion a much deeper, warmer version of the original that makes it actually worth listening to, rather than the song merely being a means to provide some eye candy and indirect advertising via the music video. Skeptics, try the first 15 seconds at least, and if you don’t like those then you simply have no soul(!); everyone else, download the MP3 here.