Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Seven Wonders for the New World

Here's a fantastic idea: following in the spirit of Philon of Byzantium - who nominated 7 man-made structures as the "Wonders of the World" way back in 200 B.C., there is a campaign afoot to name the 7 New Wonders for the Modern World. Back in 2001, some Swiss adventurer created a foundation to choose these in some form of communal effort, so now the world-wide vote is on.

No rush, however. The website boldly announces that there are a whopping 671 days and 8 hours left to vote at the time of writing, and as you might expect the whole process is rather convoluted at this stage. Basically, they are running it as an open nomination (and yes - it was I who put the Hofbrau House in Munich down for a laugh) with voting until the end of the year. Then an "expert panel" will whittle down the top 77 vote-getters to a final voting field of 21.

Everyone's selections are bound to be biased to some extent, given the vague categorizations and personal preferences. But it is still a question that begs an answer. In my choices, I have tried to hit upon a diversity through time, space, and historical origin/purpose, but of course I have been most effected by those wonders I have seen with my own eyes... and so the list is necessarily skewed somewhat. But a la Greatest Resume, or the "collective intelligence" debate from the Barbarian Invasions, the idea works best as simple fodder for conversation and debate.

So without further adieu (already been to 4 of them!):

1. Acropolis, Athens, Greece
2. Taj Mahal, India
3. Great Wall of China, China
4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
5. Sistine Chapel, Rome, Italy
6. Statue of Liberty, New York, USA
7. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

SO - what's my most egregious omission? And incidentally, how many of the Original 7 do you think you can name? I have always been struck by how everyone seems to have heard the phrase, but rare is the quizmaster who knows them all. For my part, without Sid Meier's Civilization, I would probably be completely lost. Check out details on Philon's original choices here. And let the great debate continue.


Blogger Kid Gloves said...

You see, I think we have to take a lateral approach to this one. Why must the New Wonders be measured up to the past ones? Literally, why must they be measured up? I mean, let's go goddam micro, you know what I'm saying? Like what about RF Micro Devices' (a Greensboro company which my bro-in-law works at) 0.9 millimeter tall cell phone chip (the smallest in the world) - what a curio! And its mass produced (a kitschy kind of wonder), not unique and one-of-a-kind (how boring!), which is so not de rigeur by postmodern standards. And plus, because it's all technological and stuff, it speaks to OUR generation. This is mankind at its fullest, most mature stage of genius. Fuck collossal statues, collonaded temples and mesopotamian monoliths. That shit's so magnus phallus macho.

8:26 PM  

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