Rising out of the desert, nothing about Vegas is either to scale or normal: it’s a space built for a community that comes and keeps on coming. A parody of worlds far away built to escape from this one. It’s a non stop cacophony of electronic noise, bright lights and capitalism. It is, when all is said and done, decidedly odd.
After four days here, i’m ready to leave: to move from this abstract existence back to my reality. Conferences are transient communities in themselves of course: i know people here, i’ve just never met them ‘here‘ before. Like old time circuses, they role into town, perform, then go, leaving nothing behind except some flattened grass and the memories. Except in Vegas, i suspect nobody remembers you when you’ve gone.
It’s not all that different from what we do in organisations: we build spaces and wait for communities to land. We like to pretend that they’re permanent, but what’s permanent in the Social Age? Except change, which is constant, like the flashing lights and glare of the casinos.
I grew up in a Roman city: the plaster and plastic of Caesars is a far cry. Not a reconstruction, not even an echo. Rather a pastiche, given some kind of faux authority by association: Paris, Venice, Egypt, all echoed here as dislocated spaces to house temporary communities. United by loss and impermanence.
The city is trying to find it’s heritage, with the new Neon museum actually being one of the highlights for me: the bright signs of old, now corroded and decontextualised, lying in the sand, but still singing echoes of their former glory. Illuminations dimmed, but not extinguished.
But ultimately, i am purposeless here: dissociated from home, from my landscapes, from even things like daylight and routine. I am adrift: recklessly wandering landscapes of noise and light, searching for a stillness that eludes this place.