Where Retro Meets Futurism
In 1928, Fritz Lang unleashed his masterwork, Metropolis, on an unsuspecting movie-going public. No one had had ever seen the spectacle of a beautiful female robot brought to life via the genius of a possessed inventor using glowing animated electrical rings pulsating up and down the length of her body. The spectacle of her first animate move, then gesturing towards a male visitor with mechanical precision in a slow-motion movement of arms and hips that was wondrously sensual in its precision and cold silence.
This, whilst an entire underground city labored around towering expressionistic machines to provide the energy needed to power the machinations of a foppish above-ground populous blissfully unaware of its very existence.
It happened again in 1931 as Dr. Frankenstein linked massive tesla arcs of power to shoot through his monster in the raucous splendor of a castle laboratory at the top of a dark European castle, losing his mind as the formerly dead body reanimated and came to life.
In France, a series of illustrations were published in 1902 depicting life a hundred years hence, with vivid illustrations of flying automobiles, societal parties featuring projections of living operatic performances broadcast from some stage a hundred miles away while its viewers listened in on candlestick phone devices.
So that by the time Arthur Radenbach shared his depictions of a streamline future in the late 1950’s we’d already become used to a rich pastiche of trailing imagery that made his incredible predictions easy to associate and believe were just around the corner.
SciFi was born out of fantasy and imagination dating back hundreds of years and works on the same logic, informed principle and vastly increased sense of magic we’ve come to expect from a culture that has assimilated a trail of visions of flying spacecraft, alien invaders, medical breakthroughs and unexplainable phenomena that begs to be taken literally in the name of a future we never cease to dream of.
It’s our nature to dream, invent and progress. And is a product of dreamers and visionaries who wove the path we will continue to broaden, explore and constantly bring to a closer reality. To witness that progression is to be dipped into the past and appreciate the culture that brought it to spectacular light.