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Ballardian Fractals in Dubai

Author: • Apr 26th, 2006 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, consumerism, Dubai

Here’s a query I’m posting on behalf of Paul Williams over at the JGB Yahoo list. Can anyone help? Paul writes: “Here’s something I’m working on. It has a distinct whiff of Ballard in the collision of science and society… Dubai is generating substantial income from property based on the occupation of its coastline. Dubai’s coastline is of a finite length. A way to maximise income is to construct artificial self-similar extensions of that coastline based on fractal geometries.

The natural world deploys fractal geometries to increase the surface area of a leaf in order to obtain as much sunlight as possible.

A similar approach has been used in Dubai with the construction of the various ‘Palm’ and ‘World’ offshore developments to increase coastline and consequently wealth.

Here’s the maths theory.

But I can’t find anything that actually ties together economics with fractals and property development. Is this a brand new field???

And I’m sure Ballard would want to know this… Are the potential citizens of The Palm Jabal Ali aware that they are occupying fractal dimensions in the name of enlarging Sheikh Mo’s wallet?”

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5 Responses »

  1. I think Dubai is too energetic to be Ballardian landscape. Ballard’s landscape is, I guess, rather tedious therefore people begin to get mad there. I guess Dubai is too well-organised to be considered as Ballardian.

  2. I disagree. I was toying with the idea of living in Dubai a few years ago, just to experince a Ballardian/Super Cannes Version 2 way of life. Tedium is in the mind of the beholder.

    Dubai is a highly artificial scenario. Ballard themes often deal with changes within society through technological advancement so i think this has all the hallmarks of a new Ballardian scene. I reckon Ballard should set his next book in Dubai!

  3. any society based on the tyranny of convenience- as Dubai tries so hard to advertise itself as being, is doomed to failure, as the slave culture that ultimately supports it has to end in rebellion. Ballard is a Marxist. Our worst enemy is what we want.

  4. Dubai is wonderfully Ballardian to me. Ballard isn’t all empty swimming pools and deserted hotels… he’s also busy motorways, shopping malls and business parks as well. Ballardian ’emptiness’ is in the concepts and people’s heads.

    My specific point above was about the geometry of Dubai. Check out “The World” archipelago of artificial islands: http://realestate.theemiratesnetwork.com/developments/dubai/world_islands.php

    There’s something disturbing about the obsessive geometry of the place…

  5. […] In a recent discussion about Ballardian music, Paul Williams said that field recordings are more complementary to Ballard’s work than people singing about fucking an exhaust pipe. Paul’s example is ‘The Crackling’, a work by John Duncan, composed of treated field recordings made at Stanford Linear Accelerator, like ‘being in a vast space filled with the hum of a serious particle accelerator permeated by the distant voices of research technicians.’ In sound art, there are plenty of other people mining similar territory, so my question to you is: what could be more Ballardian than the sonic exploration of built environments and their psychological and social effects? After all, Ballard’s writing ‘records’ the spaces ‘in between’: the hum of traffic, of sodium lamps in business parks, of the technological exoskeleton. And – at least in one important strand of his work – that’s often explicitly mirrored in inner space, reflected in the magnified, interior sound of blood and arteries pumping… […]

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