T4T LAB 2016

Adam Fure. Distinguished Invited Professor.

Coordinated locally by Gabriel Esquivel operated as a satellite office working remotely with feedback from the designers’ technical challenges and intellectual charge.

Teaching Assistant: Adam Wells.

This year’s T4T Lab explores the concept of the “post-digital” in relation to architecture. An emerging topic in art and cultural studies, the post-digital refers to a period after the digital revolution, when algorithms are everywhere and the line between digital and physical is difficult to detect. It suggests a changing cultural perception of digital technology from something rare and novel to something ubiquitous and familiar, while simultaneously calling for broader and deeper reflections on how computation has changed the way we see and relate to the world. The “post” in postdigital, therefore, does not imply a time after or beyond the digital, but instead should be understood as both a continuation and interrogation of what we have known as “the digital” to date. As computation has been codified in recent years it has become a static fixed thing—The Digital—instead of being regarded more appropriately as an entity in flux, with evolving trajectories.

 

In the context of the studio, the post-digital informs our approach to history, technique, and form generation. Rather than constituting a fixed canon, we see historical works as raw material with which to work. Instead of analyzing the proportions of a Serlio plan, we cut and splice its profiles to produce new form. In terms of technique, we avoid overtly complex scripts and algorithms, focusing instead on the seemingly innocuous tidbits of daily digital life, such as “extrude,” “trim,” and “offset.” Lastly, we exploit facile modes of form generation, such as photogrammetry, which eases the pressures of origination while providing ample opportunities for formal manipulation. For us, digital scans are ontologically equivalent to their physical counterparts; we make no distinction between originals and copies—digital rocks are as real as physical ones, images as authentic as objects.

 

If early digital processes were loud and disruptive, initiating a flood of revolutionary thinking, current technologies spread quietly without the attention and intellectual development of mainstream digital design. To combat this, this studio carefully considers the digital processes we take for granted.  Though seemingly trivial, such processes constitute the foundations of architectural design today. The postdigital is not a Ludditic disavowal of computation, nor an ironic detachment from it; rather, it’s a bid to explore the idiosyncrasies and aesthetics of digital mediums while considering larger cultural questions that have been under addressed in digital design discourse to date.

 

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