Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Mall

I've discovered the existence of a documentary entitled Malls R Us, thanks to this brief report. It seems it includes a small section that references Ray Bradbury. It looks like the closest thing there is to an official website for the film is here at Icarus Films.

So what does Bradbury have to do with shopping? For a few years he was retained as a conceptual consultant by the architectural practice Jon Jerde and Associates. During this time he wrote several essays where he explored the idea of the town and the shopping experience. The essays are collected in Bradbury's book Yestermorrow.

One of Bradbury's ideas is that of "lostness": that we shouldn't be able to predict exactly what we find when we wander around a town or shopping centre; that we should occasionally find that we have taken a turn that leads to a dead end, and we should have to re-trace our steps. Another is his idea that, despite what they say, most people do not go out to shop; they actually go out to eat, and the shopping they do actually fits around the food and drink experience.

I'm no expert on architecture or shopping, but I sense the Bradbury influence in almost every modern mall I visit. How else to explain the rise of the "food court"?

I haven't yet seen Malls R Us, but I hope to get an opportunity soon.

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