Perhaps the overriding myth is that of the architect as a hero. Serving the same powers that it strives to critique, architecture is condemned to a perpetual conflict of interest. Together, architects, clients, politicians, and consultants make up an embroiled world in which it is forever unclear who calls the shots.- Reinier de Graaf
When it becomes job search time for an architect, in order to get an overview of firms and potential internships, the search starts where most searches these days start, Google. That search may lead to some other websites that specialize in job or internship postings, but something interesting continues to happen when using the keyword ‘architect’. Intermixed with a few listings that meet the generally expected criteria are companies like IBM, Google, and others specializing within the technology sector. Facebook lists ‘Optical Systems Architect’ and ‘Solutions Architect’ on their careers page, Google has an opening for a ‘Cloud Architect’, and Apple is searching for an ‘Imaging and Vision Architect’ along with 600 listed jobs that appear with the keyword ‘architect’. Although the amount of tech jobs, the search for that elusive job goes on, unknowingly witnessing a phenomenon that seems to raise profound questions about architecture and the architect in today’s world and in the future.
Whose systems are dependent on who? Does space in the city have value if it does not have Wi-Fi or other means to activate social media services, regardless of built architecture? Which architects really influence and shape our environments?
Conceptual series exploring the historical evolution of how users engage advertising within the public domain.
The following is an excerpt from the conclusion of my thesis, Digital is Physical: The Future of User Agency and Design Within the Public Domain. Explore more in the "Thesis and Writings" section.
The issue is not private companies participating in the public domain. Disneyland is Disneyland. A shopping mall is a shopping mall. A billboard is a billboard. An Apple store is not a Town Square. A future public domain built on false rhetoric and subversive technology must be critically questioned from the standpoint of architecture urbanism and most importantly by all users of the city. Ultimately, it is crucial that users maintain the agency of choice and freedom within the public domain.
When users experience of the city is controlled, filtered, influenced, or manipulated the chance encounters and serendipity of the public domain are gone. Users are not only isolated, but unable to no longer be exposed to different opinions and diversity. In some ways, that deepens social divides, isolation, and polarization of communities.
Not everything these companies do is bad. There are many examples of these platforms and devices connecting and enabling communities world-wide to have a voice on a global scale. Political engagement that happens in digital space is now playing out in physical space. The same happens with casual social interaction with added connectivity and accessibility for those with the software. For all the good, these technologies clearly come with consequences that must be critically considered before they are given free reign within the public domain.
I firmly stand with the idea that we must as citizens and designers fight to retain agency and control within these spaces within the city. This relationship will continue to change, but as technology redefines the ‘rules of engagement’ within the public domain the fundamental aspects of the public domain cannot be forgotten. A public domain that trades serendipity, freedom, and user agency for control, ubiquity, and isolation that is defined by technology companies must not be the future of the city. There will be ways the digital and physical realms can coexist, but designers, users, and policymakers must critically ask what the function of the public domain is in the future vision of cities.
Martijn De. Waal, The City as Interface: How Digital Media Are Changing the City (Rotterdam: NAI Uitgevers/Publishers Stichting, 2014)
Photoshop collages exploring ways to read the wealth gap and themes of inclusiveness within cites through architecture.
At the 8:50 mark in this interview with Madelon Vriesendorp, she answers a question about 'Bad Taste'. Her explanation of embracing of bad taste within her work is a great context when understanding some of the early work of OMA. It is something that we are interested in exploring further this summer and beyond in new work. In order to set the stage for that, the following is the Manifesto for Bad Taste.
The manifesto for bad taste
Good taste is accepted as the ideal object, representation, or moment in time. Is good taste the ideal? Who decides the ideal? Status quo is the ideal. Fame is the ideal. Security the ideal. Comfort is the ideal. Routine is the ideal. Wealth is the ideal. A fence is the ideal. The ideal is binary. The ideal becomes standardization. Expression and provocation. The anti-ideal. When seeking the ideal, anything less than conformity fails you.
The embracing of bad taste is the embracing of a world of possibilities and accepting beyond personal belief. In an ideal world, nothing is ideal.
Architecture is meaningless. An empty void of orthographic projection. Without image, architecture is meaningless. Without architecture, image is still powerful. Image transcends medium. It is photograph, painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, writing, and craft. Image transcends scale. It is objects, people, communities, towns, cities, countries, and worlds. Image transcends reality. It is rational, surreal, speculative, narrative, dystopian, and utopian. Image transcends language. It is political, social, provocative, satire, experiential, cultural, and worth more than a thousand words. Image goes places that architecture cannot. Architecture’s rejection of image does not condemn the image. It proves the power of image. While social movement, cultural engagement, and political provocation moves forward, architecture will be left meaningless, four walls and roof.
Modernism and Internet State of Mind
Modernism was in large part defined by the relationship between craft and emerging technologies. This allowed the modernist movement to situate itself within history in a way that effected a wide range of disciplines. In a similar way Post-Internet is attempting to reach an “Internet State of Mind” in order to position its self within contemporary culture. Post-Internet can be a misleading term primarily due to the prefix post-. Thanks to the postmodern movement, the prefix post- has been associated with anti- however it originally means after, beyond, or derived from. Post-Internet describes an object created with consciousness of the networks within which it exists.
The Post-Internet movement is something of an anomaly because its stance within the digital era is ambiguous. In the publication, “You are Here: Art After the Internet” explores both the effects and affects that the internet has had on recent artistic practices describing Post-Internet as an era. The era can be defined as the generation that experienced life pre- mainstream internet. In a sense Post-Internet is a once removed understanding of the current condition. Its situates itself outside of mainstream culture allowing for a critique of a society that is completely enveloped within the electromagnetic fog of information. However, the critique is presented through mainstream media not specifically tailored to virtual but to the brick and mortar of the museum. The true understanding of Post-Internet is the cognizance that the internet has its own system and power, which affect the way we evaluate physical existence.
As with ever art movement the classification of the art has been divided into sub-themes derived from the intent of the critique. Distortion explores the modern viewing of art through a digital existence. Language comments on the abbreviation and deterioration of the written language through digital media. The Posthuman Body speculates on the dystonia future of devices tethered to our existence creating new forms of existence. Radical Identification investigates the way that personal profiles can be repackaged and re-purposed within society creating a curated existence. Branding and Corporate Aesthetics focuses itself on the role of internet and marketing exploring the relationships between startups and international tech giants. Painting and Gesture begins to understand the evolution of painting within the digital world. Infrastructure explores post Internets relationship to digital art and net art and the issues with these movement that have created the rise of post Internet as a movement. These sub-themes are exactly that, they are not designed to constrain the art or exploration. The exploration can span multiple sub themes thus commenting on a range of issues that affect macro conditions.
The Perils of Post Internet Art
What is Post Internet Art?
What is Post Internet Art? Understanding the Revolutionary New Art Movement