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Alternative Worlds

Blue-Sky Thinking since 1900


Edited By Ricarda Vidal and Ingo Cornils

In an attempt to counteract the doom and gloom of the economic crisis and the politicians’ overused dictum that ‘there is no alternative’, this interdisciplinary collection presents a number of alternative worlds that were conceived over the course of the last century. While change at the macro level was the focus of most of the ideological struggles of the twentieth century, the real impetus for change came from the blue-sky thinking of scientists, engineers, architects, sociologists, planners and writers, all of whom imagined alternatives to the status quo.
Following a roughly chronological order from the turn of the nineteenth century to the present, this book explores the dreams, plans and hopes as well as the nightmares and fears that are an integral part of alternative thinking in the Western hemisphere. The alternative worlds at the centre of the individual essays can each be seen as crucial to the history of the past one hundred years. While these alternative worlds reflect their particular cultural context, they also inform historical developments in a wider sense and continue to resonate in the present.
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4 The Last ‘City of the Future’: Brasília and its Representation in Literature and Film


And, in front of the sketch of future Brasília, we know that the city will be the most audacious city that the West will have ever conceived. Receive our thanks for so many illustrious monuments, which fill our memory, and for having placed your trust in its architects to create the city and in its people, to love it! […] You know, as do all artists and less so governments, that the art forms which tend to stay in the memory of men are those which are ‘invented’.

— ANDRÉ MALRAUX, ‘Brasília Capital of Hope’1

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