Because the Europeans landed on a comet last week, let's all take a trip to the dusty corner of memory where liberal-arts speak is stored, and consider the idea of a mission control room as a "highly charged mythic space." Writing for Dezeen, novelist Will Wiles leads the discussion:
"They may sometimes give a faint echo of Ken Adam's War Room set for Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, but mostly the aesthetic is out-of-town office park with just a dash of private screening cinema. Technical mastery plants its feet on fawn carpet tiles. They must of course prioritise function, and public money is at stake. But they are also venues for high emotion, and semi-public spaces, on view to the waiting, taxpaying world." For evidence of the ongoing value placed on this kind of catharsis, consider last week's footage of the European Space Agency control room. What other psychic bulwarks might these very utilitarian spaces be shoring up? Wiles reflects:
"To rest easy we need to believe that somewhere in the system there is a room full of people who know what they're doing. Call it the myth of competence—a fundamental, but not often remarked, part of the psychology of the modern age. Somewhere there is a control room, an advanced society's equivalent of the throne room, with anonymous, highly trained professionals in the role of wise monarch." Is that "somewhere" in an underground bunker deep beneath the Rockies, or is it actually a metaphorical bunker your subconscious needs to keep you a functioning member of society? How has the end of the Cold War changed our conception of both the physical and psychic version of the "control room"? Share your thoughts in the comments, or feel free to return to browsing dank memes.
· "The control room is a highly charged mythic space" [Dezeen]