London's Tate Modern is featuring an exhibit right now on "global cities," focusing on Cairo, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo through the broad themes of size, speed, form, density, and diversity. There are interesting videos accompanying these themes at the Tate's webpage on the show. By next year, half of the world's population will live in an urban zone, BBC reports, with this cool interactive map showing how megacities have grown in the last fifty years. From The Guardian:
The great thing about cities is not how awful they are, but how wonderfully well they work, considering that putting more than 20 million humans in close proximity to engage in serial acts of competitive individualism could not be considered a reasonable idea. If you put rats into claustrophobic circumstances, they become cannibalistic in no time at all. But humans find ingenious solutions: Maglev trains, underground car parks, Korean supermarkets, pizza delivery, cycle lanes, very tall buildings.
I don't care about seeing the show as much as I care about seeing the cities included, which I think is the point. The inclusion of L.A. is another sign that our town is on the international radar more than ever before. If anything, it's another reminder that a better perspective on living in and absorbing L.A. is to try to see it as part of a broader picture, a happy product of huge forces in technology, trade, media, culture, migration, etc. The museum brings together some great work by international artists for the exhibit, such as photographer Andreas Gursky, author of the above image, "Copan, 2002." * Links via Curbed LA.