[Photo © 2007 Paul Kolnik]
In his great book The Labyrinth Of Solitude,
Ocatvio Paz remarks that “architecture is a society's unbribable
witness.” If you want to know the truth about any society, look
at what it builds.
So what is the witness of Las Vegas, the most popular tourist
destination in America? As you sit on the terrace of a French
bistro, attached to a replica of Paris, and look across the street at an
evocation of an Italian lake, or down the street at a replica of New York,
or up the street at an evocation of ancient Rome, the message is clear —
“We don't know where we are.”
Everyone in America feels this, along the strip developments and in the
malls that all look the same, whether they're in Georgia or California
— even though they might not feel it on a conscious level, or admit it to themselves.
That's why they come to Las Vegas in such great numbers, and why they
love it. Las Vegas tells us the truth, let's us admit the truth
— we don't know where we are — and the truth is always
exhilarating. It makes you want to party.
[A note to readers: I apologize
for the site's being out of commission for a while — it exceeded its
bandwidth once again, even though my hosting service allowed me double
the usage I was paying for. They finally decided that I needed to
pay them more money — that now done, the site should be functional for the
foreseeable future. Thanks for the interest!]