Adaptive Reuse of Crashed Starships: Afterville

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I once wrote briefly about how I’d love to see a movie that shows us what happens immediately after the people of Earth successfully thwart an alien invasion. Independence Day 2, if you will. Does the world come together in a new age of peace or do we battle for the rights of the crashed starships? And what of these starships? Their massive scale would intimidate even the most hardened shipbreaker, but we can’t just leave them where they crashed can we? Maybe. Maybe we salvage what technology we can and use the wreckage as an armature for a a new building a even an entirely new city. Post-invasion becomes the new Postmodernism.


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Well, it looks like we might finally find some answers to these questions in the short sci-fi film about this exact topic. Afterville takes a look at life 50 year after UFOs mysteriously crash to Earth and proposes that yes, we do build inside and around these colossal new “buildings.” In fact, we turn them into shopping malls. Such merging of the miraculous and the mundane, the profound and the prosaic, always leave me with a conflicted feeling. Should spaceship-shopping malls be celebrated or denounced?

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Also worth noting here: the film was shot entirely in Turin and, since it takes place in the future, the filmmakers digitally inserted buildings that are planned for construction. A similar feat was done in Wim Wenders Until the End of the World. Jean Nouvel’s Tour Sans Fin was inserted into the Paris skyline with such success that many viewers were surprised to learn that the building didn’t actually exist.

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If and when artificial intelligence is perfected, it will almost certainly be regulated by the Three Laws of Robotics, as set forth by Isaac Asimov. With this in mind, should we begin to compose a Post-invasion manifesto now? So when the invasion inevitable happens (presuming we survive), the movement is already there, already defined.

possible rules:

  • Never disguise the use of newly discovered extraterrestrial materials that make possible 100 yard cantilevers, 1″ thick fire barriers, and other feats previously thought impossible.
  • existing alien facades and ornament should be treated like one would treat exposed brick and timber.

  • Any other ideas? What about the use of Space? Who can say that aliens think about space the same way we do? Are we under obligation to preserve these spaces? Should architects work hand-in-hand with xenoarcheologists? What about Programming? Ownership rights? There’s a lot of ground to cover here and who knows how much time we have.

    &#183Milwaukee Finally Gets Decontaminated, UFO Apartments [io9]
    &#183Future Megastructures, Starship Breaking, and Independence Day 2 [LWB]

    [all images via Afterville trailer]