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Masters Thesis

REPLACING TERRA

Robert B. Church III Graduate Award 

Faculty Award Letter Recipient

Thesis Advisor: Mark Stanley

Committee Members: Jennifer Akerman & Jeremy Magner

Programs employed:

[RHINO]

[CINEMA4D]

[OCTANE]

[AFTER EFFECTS]

[X-PARTICLES]

[PREMIERE PRO]

[RUNWAY AI]

When digital overtakes real and authenticity becomes fluid, architecture must die/democratize/glitch/be hacked

RECURSIVE PROPHESIES

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Pixel architectures are a slave to dominant realities and virtual contexts, they live (the most) when directly fed into recursive loops.

Social media platforms such as facebook, twitter, parler, 4chan, 8kun and others fostered groups that spread misinformation leading to the capital insurrection on January 6th, a confusing time for many Americans. These different platforms allowed for those who believed in the information spread by Q and like-extremists to create an echo chamber. This created groups of people who are/were fully disconnected with reality, seeing everything happening (Biden being elected, Trump’s lawsuits against state governments being thrown out, no overthrowing of govt. on inauguration day, etc) as evidence for the narrative that the election was stolen.

Scrambling for a better signal, the hare twists the knobs of its own reality. Once tuned, the hare peers outside of its home, looking for signs of movement. The hare finding solace once again in the still air being filled with vibrations and sounds. Everything will be okay.

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VIRULENT INCRIMINATIONS

CODENAME:DOGE

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Architecture must learn to be reduced enough to go viral for those who don’t know any better.

The doge meme was born in the early 2010’s and has since been altered and adapted to a variety of different meme formats and meanings. What was once an ironic innocent image of a dog saying things like “much wow” and “concern” now serves as a tool as well as an indicator for the internet’s subconscious. The doge relies on referencing things and emotions that are relatable while saying something that is just novel enough it is spreadable and repeatable.

The Doge looks up in disbelief as it is endlessly distorted by unknown actors, spread and shared – seeing reflections of oneself in unimaginable contexts. Accepting its own reality, the Doge closes its eyes dreaming of technicolor hydrangeas and a cool breeze. Paradise.  

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COLLECTIVE AWAKENINGS

CODENAME:APE

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For architecture to retain its relevance and power through digital landscapes, it must be owned and altered by the collective.

During the pandemic-filled year of 2020, internet communities began to grow rapidly. One such community that saw growth was r/wallstreetbets, a community focused on making money off the stock market while creating self-deprecating memes. Seeing an opportunity in an over-shorted stock, r/wallstreetbets began to rally eachother to individually buy and hold the stock no matter what, creating a culture of “hodling” and memes around it. What started as a money-making strategy morphed somewhat into a political movement and cultural awakening – power is shifting to the collective.

Newly awakened the primate sees its fellow kind in the foliage, all grinning from ear to ear. Beating on their chest the apes all sending virtual screeches and diamond hands, hoping to attract more apes into the jungle.

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For architecture to survive in the digital it must learn how to bait and switch.

Digital landscapes allow for digital predators – algorithms designed to extract vital and valuable metadata, alter behavior, and implant beliefs into unsuspecting users. The stag is constantly being fooled into believing it is what it isn’t – safe. Time after time again platforms like Facebook are exposed and shown to be harvesting information from its users – to likes, dislikes, facial recognition, and biometric data – forming an increasingly accurate set of meta-information ripe for advertisers and companies to buy.

Grazing in pastures, part organic and part pixel, the stag knows no violence – no conflict. The stag simply does what the stag does, getting continuously sold out for higher and higher prices as countless invisible eyes watch it.

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LUCID PRODUCTS

CODENAME:STAG

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TERRAFORMING SENTIMENTS

CODENAME:CRAB

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For virtual architectures to be believable they must learn to be fast.

Due to the nature of differing speeds, institutions are always going to be lagging behind societal and cultural change brought on by the digital. News cycles become shorter, trying to capture what trends better and quicker. Before judicial proceedings even start, public opinion has made its verdict. The greater this divide becomes, the greater possibility for chaos.

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Consistently watching, yet unable to react, the archaic crab tries to maintain levels of control over those that live within it. Having to move more and more frequently the crab becomes restless, more and more unable to contain those within it. Sooner or later, the crab knows, the crab must die.

NFT COLLECTIBLE TRADING CARDS

Purchasable with stag-coins this growing set of cards called “Quirks” lies in-between trading and tarot cards; used as a way to hoard and interpret one’s past, present, and future. Obtainable through random drops, cards of a variety of rarities make their way into people’s hands. The cards are designed with pop culture, niche communities, and mythology in mind to create new lores and intersections in digital spaces. The rate at which new cards are designed and produced is directly correlated to the rate at which virtual communities grow and spread. Ultimately, the subjects are meant to be experienced freshly through the collecting, sharing, and playing of these digital trading cards.

The original 11 cards in the series are based off this thesis project, Replacing Terra.

DIGITAL ALLIES + REFERENCES

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