Pre-Thesis Blog — Wk. 10

Beginning Stages of a 3D model of Lower Manhattan

Benjamin Bratton’s The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, proposes the radical idea of how the current and future direction of technology can weave itself into both the physical and metaphysical realms on this planet; this is The Stack. The scale of The Stack exists on a planetary one, where planetary computation exists in “different forms at different scales — energy and mineral sourcing and grids; subterranean cloud infrastructure; urban software and public service privatization; massive universal addressing systems; interfaces drawn by the augmentation of the hand, of the eye, or dissolved into objects; users both over-outlined by self-quantification and also exploded by the arrival of legions of sensors, algorithms, and robots.”(5)

The past few weeks, I felt burdened by a particular direction of how I would go about illustrating the 3 major components of my thesis exploration of Designing Futures based on:

  • Anthropocene and urban habitation
  • Ecological Sustainability
  • Decolonization

I initially believed that what would serve the project best was to display this as a triptych representation of each component. I have decided what would serve best is to imagine a NYC at a set future date that coalesces the different studies that would feature throughout key locations of the city that best exemplify the narratives.

Alas, a step forward begins with a step towards something. I have begun creating some geometric studies in Rhinoceros 3D to find a way to produced assembled formal studies that resemble structure that can be deployed in a way that conveys the themes of the writings of Bratton and the research of architectural advancement in forms, materiality, fabrication, assembly. The geometries are derived from Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces; shapes which result from an equilibrium of homogenous tension. Examples would be soap bubbles. The ability to construct these types of geometries that can confine to the cubic module that can aggregate these forms.

My formal studies do not confine to the mathematical and geometric rules that yield a true TPMS object. However, this investigation was more on how parametric technology and 3D CAD software yields formal studies that can produce speculative objects that can be deployed as future infrastructure.

The formal study rendered in these images are produced as these possible scaffolds that serve as bracing mechanisms that insert themselves into existing buildings and infrastructure in New York City. These become breakwaters to scaffolds to perhaps buildings themselves. More to come.

What is useful in reading Bratton’s thesis, among the cumulated research I have coalesced is how best to understand the world as it is, as a means to envision it remade. “We experience a crisis of ‘ongoingness’ that is both the cause and effect of our species’ inability to pay its ecological and financial debts. The Stack itself, this accidental megastructure, is surely as well a result of these same processes, and it may be seen as symptomatic from one perspective or emergent from another, but its ability to mature as a form of intelligence is dependent on learning to not cannibalize its planetary host” (303)

As I continue to produce work, I hope that the collection displays the possibilities of how this kind of research informs future possibilities while striking at engaging narratives that encourage progress.

The World of Tomorrow

Benjamin H. Bratton. The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty. 1st Edition. The MIT Press, 2016.



Second Year Masters | Integrated Digital Media

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