Theatrical Tactics: Terminal 02
South Africa
Drawings, plans, elevations
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As technology advances exponentially, the ways in which humans interact socially have become faster, less physical and less “authentic“ – in that previous, physical moments of social interaction have now been reduced to a digital experience. The ways in which we document and broadcast our city are through digital media representations like that of 'Instagram' or 'Snapchat' – an unique mobile app that allows you to send photos and videos, both of which only last for a brief moment of time, before they disappear forever. The project antagonizes the physical built environment as we move towards and increasingly non-physical state. The project is a fictional-based, satirical narrative on the chaotic nature of social media representation in Johannesburg and introduces ‘time’ as a medium of architecture practice in this digitized consciousness where the presence of the physical body no longer exists, only the virtual-self. The project interrogates the theory of ‘spectacle’ – after Guy Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’ – by an emergent three-part methodology in order to reconnect the authenticity that has previously been undermined in this digital dialogue. Through an analysis of the city [Johannesburg] and the contemporary methods of social exchange that contribute to the ‘Spectacle,’ the project identifies three predominant elements of practice: Actors – the individuals that begin to channel cultural conditions based on how emerging trends perpetuate over time. Prosthetics – broadly understood as technology, or the physical or digital extension of the actor to its terrain; body-to-architecture. Terrain – a digital landscape. A context informed by physical and cultural conditions of the city and its actors at the various time scales of social interaction. In a spatial narrative or ‘Terminal 2’ these elements together, begin to manifest and architecturally express the ephemeral and transparent qualities of a digital place informed by its contemporary spectacle. Terminal 2 is a film that follows one individual or ‘Actor’ as he makes his way up to the ‘Spectacle City’ – a social construct of Johannesburg. However, his journey is not so straight forward and he must first pass through Terminal 2 in order to reach his final destination. The individual finds himself within a digitized state, where he exists entirely removed from our physical reality, or does he? Terminal 2 is in no way a physical place and cannot be accessed in real time. It is located in a distant future where new digital technologies have progressed passed a point at which organic life no longer exists and physical touch is meaningless. What’s left is a synthetic landscape of deconstructed, social artifacts created by the ‘Actors’ that exist beyond the ‘screen’, continuously reassembled on a stage of self-fulfillment through ‘Prosthetics’; body-to-architecture, and resurrected in a digital ‘Terrain’ by structural moments of transcendence, at the scale of technology.
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