Video: Dubai and Google Earth Urbanism
November 15, 2011
There are cities before Google Earth and there are cities after Google Earth. Dubai, as this video illustrates, falls in the latter category. Produced for TEDxDubai, the ad depicts the city’s rapid urbanization and expansion over the last 10 years through time-lapse satellite imagery. In under 2 minutes, the mostly desert landscape is transformed into the cultural resource it has become, one tapped by “urban entrepreneurialists” who depoliticize its spaces and commidify them for the global market. Extravagant, dubiously experimental and ecological buildings by starchitects–Gehry, Zaha, and all the usual suspects–function as flashy marketing tools to propel the mobilization forwards. The Nazca lines were (ostensibly) made for celestial deities; Dubai was–is being–built for the sky, which is to say, for Google Earth.