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A city layer is a complex phenomenon. It demonstrates how people evolved but remained unchanged in their primary needs such as safety, control, entertainment, etc. Even as they get obsessed with erecting megastructures and findings new ways to obtain more power and get more entertained, the initial need for security is not eradicated, as the number of options for seeking force and safety as well increases. Still, the city layer is closely connected to the complexity of human life in modern society.
The phenomenon of the urban layer in the thriller “Inception”
One of the best ways to obtain an in-depth understanding of this concept is to investigate it through the prism of The Inception, the 2010 thriller shot by Christopher Nolan. Just like the movie, the phenomenon of the city layer is complicated to apprehend from the first reading, as long hours of thorough reflections are needed to become aware of the ideas mentioned both in The Stack and The Inception. To begin with, the motion picture explores the differences between people in the dream world and real-life (Welch par. 8).
However, this dream world is created using the newest technologies, which make it possible to produce multilayered dreams, i.e. dreams within dreams (Fleming 166). The whole construction resembles the idea of a city as a layer incorporating reversible grids, the newest Cloud technologies, and non-stop building up, which leads to the “disappearance of the outside” (Bratton 151) making it hard to draw the line between the past and the future.
Another element of the city layer is its exposure to control, a constant mix of security and entertainment in cases when it is impossible to make the distinction between being controlled or entertained (Bratton 155). Just like the city layer, The Inception and the dream world are the territories of both security and fun. Even though the plot of the movie is far from entertaining, the very idea of people, who can control one’s minds and dreams, is very similar to the concept of the urbanized airport as an element of the city layer – a megastructure, which is divided into numerous blocks designed for different purposes known only to those who constructed them (Bratton 156, 178; Jones par. 2).
Moreover, the city as a layer is a totality. It is fragile and can be destroyed at any moment because of the excessive dependence on technologies and smartness. That is why some real forces are necessary – those, which point to actual opportunities and problems (Bratton 160). This assumption is closely connected to the existence of the totem in The Inception – a little object, which is the only way to determine a current position of a leading hero and find out whether he is in the real world in a dream (Child par. 5).
This reality check is a combination of economic factors such as the division of labor, production, consumption, and unemployment level, as they are valuable for signaling any potential hardships and the risks of catastrophes. Finally, the idea of envelope and apparatus, i.e. continuing construction with the understanding of its influence on a user, is closely connected to the way dreams are created, as they were as well focused on requirements of particular people even though they were not ordinary citizens but representatives of some of the most influential social groups (Bratton 164; Derisz par. 10).
Bratton, Benjamin H. The Stack. London: MIT Press, 2015. Print.
Child, Ben. Christopher Nolan Explains ‘Inception’s’ Ending. 2015. Web.
Derisz, Ricky. The ‘Inception’ Ending May Have Finally Been Solved Thanks to One Peculiar Aspect of Cobb’s Totem. 2016. Web.
Fleming, Sarah. “Inception.” Journal of Feminist Family Therapy 24.2 (2012): 165-166. Print.
Jones, J. R. “Inception.” Chicago Reader. 2011: 28. Print.
Welch, Alex. ‘Falling Water’ Is to ‘Inception’ what ‘Mr. Robot’ Is to ‘Fight Club.’ 2016. Web.