Arch.Uth Postgraduate Course Postgraduate Course Postgraduate Course Postgraduate Course Arch.Uth UTH.gr Ελληνικά
SPECIAL TOPICS ON REPRESENTATIONS: DIGITAL ΤΟΤΕΜ: Transcendental representations and digital media
ΟΑ0804, AUDIOVISUAL ART,
Elective at semester(s) 6, 8, ECTS: 3
Taught in: Greek, Not available to ERASMUS students

“I wanna live forever

upload me

in your shiny shiny

PVC future”

VNS Matrix Bitch Mutant Manifesto 

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Digital culture constantly adopts the superhuman or transcendental element, while at the same time it is becoming a mechanism of miracle production, a new phantasmagoria. The promises of digital technology manifest a series of religious proportions: transformations, resurrections, miracles, prayers, omniscience, ubiquitous presence, holy or ecstatic conditions, superhuman powers, angelic and demonic instances. At the same time, they introduce a series of spatial narratives and metaphors that open new dimensions in the perception of space and its representation.

The course invites students to participate in a kind of contemporary digital "magic" - through the exploration and critical reassessment of the presence of digital media in the modern socio-cultural environment, the participants encounter with the technological innovations and at the same time with spaces that are characterized by transcendental, superhuman, or excessive features. The course aims at promoting creative reflection on ontology issues of digital experience, post-human nature, techno-utopia, and other concepts and phenomena of the "silicon age".

In this context, the architect's role in the digital era will be discussed, as well as the importance of the transcendental view in the process of representation and design.

SUBJECT

The lesson is an interactive exercise on the review of the phenomenon of digitality and its excesses and at the same time an exercise of representation of experiential ideas and concepts that arise from the critical evaluation of mundane events of modern digital culture. Students are invited to experiment, to recognize, to discuss issues of transcendence of digitality, and then to deepen, representing their personal experience through conceptual leaps, use of allegorical speech, creative and poetic violations of architectural rules and established practices.

The course also hosts an artificial intelligence assistant – eg. AmazonEcho, Google Home – with which students are invited to interact, play, chat and use it paradoxically in order to gain information about the contents of the course throughout the semester.

 

Course structure

The structure of the course includes a theoretical and laboratory part, which evolve parallel to each other.

The theoretical partof the course includes a series of lectures, debates and projections aimed at familiarizing students with the issues of sacred, magical and transcendental space. Through the use of examples from different fields (eg. virtual environments, social networks, electronic games, dark data) we will discuss approaches, interpretations and representations of the transcendental element as it is presented in digital media or experienced during their use.

More specifically, the course contents include:

  • Early transcendental perceptions of the digital world
  • Transcendence of the mind and Artificial Intelligence
  • Self-transcendence ("Life" and "death" of the digital self, "angels, demons, living dead")
  • Body transgressions (cyborgs, exhumans, transhumans, posthumans, extropianism, singularity, immortalism, postgenderism)
  • Transcendental promises and products (marketing and digital culture)
  • Transcending/excessing our capabilities - (simulated reality, artificial intelligence, superintelligence, 3D bioprinting, mind uploading, chemical brain preservation, cryonics, quantified self)
  • Transcendence of identity (the ego as another, superheroes, making of personalities)
  • Transcendence of boundaries and sacredness (immersion, ecstasy, worship, connectivity)
  • Transcendence of reality and science fiction
  • Transcendence of good and evil (utopian, dystopian worlds)
  • Transcendence of consciousness (hallucinations, perceptual distortions)
  • Transcendence of time

The laboratory part of the course includes exercises aimed at familiarizing students with these concepts, as well as at boosting their creative rendition.

The lesson includes three exercises that develop successively over the course of the semester:

 

Exercise Α:  INTERVIEW

Students are invited to chat with an Artificial Intelligence entity of their choice, [e.g. Alexa (AmazonEcho), Google Home, Web Bots] to interact, train it, and produce heretic dialogues related to the subject of the course. In the context of the first exercise, students work together in order to construct an interview / manifesto of transcendental content.

 

Exercise Β:  THAVMATOLOGIO

In the second exercise, students are invited to design the advertisement of an imaginary transcendental product (eg. an application, digital service, video game, gadget, VR, AR) in a poster format, which will also form as a critical commentary on modern technological promises and “miraclization” of the digital age. The exercise will include capturing an exaggerated concept for an imaginary product, inventing its 'brand' and 'slogan', and designing a poster advertisement that will communicate the desired message.

 

Exercise Γ:  DIGITAL TOTEMS

In the third exercise, students are asked to represent their Digital Totem. The Totem, constitutes an imaginary construction/portrait of their transcendent digital self and their relation to the digital media. The totem construction is a work of art, a sacred symbol, an event composition, a metaphorical representation. At the same time, it is an open narrative that evolves over time. The purpose of the exercise is to teach students how they perceive their relationship with digitality, through the representation of their own sacred, transcendental architecture. Their narrative may include texts, drawings, three-dimensional representations, audiovisual compositions, interactive applications, VR, or any other media that are suitable for expressing their idea.

ASSESSMENT

The first and second exercises are performed in groups, the third is an individual exercise. Students are invited to deliver their final completed proposals through the end of the semester.

Student evaluation will relate to their active participation in the course, their creativity and response to the assessments, their critical ability and inventiveness and the originality of their final works.

INDICATIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Allen, R., Projecting Illusion: Film Spectatorship and the Impression of Reality, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1997

Bachelard, G., The poetics of space, Beacon Press, Boston, 1994

Barak A., Psychological aspects of cyberspace: theory, research, applications, Cambridge University Press, 2008

Barthes, R., Image-Music-Text, Hill and Wang, New York, 1978

Baudrillard, J., Simulacra and Simulation, University of Michigan Press, 1995

Beckmann J., The virtual dimension: architecture, representation, and crash culture, Princeton Architectural Press, 1998

Benedikt, M. (Ed.), Cyberspace: First Steps, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 1991

Borries, V. et. al. Space Time Play: Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism: The Next Level, Birkhäuser Architecture, 2007

Ellis, J., Visible Fictions: Cinema, Television, Video, Routledge,2nd ed.,1992

Ford, D., A Theology for a Mediated God: How Media Shapes Our Notions About Divinity, Routledge, 2015

Foucault, M., Of Other Spaces: Heterotopias, Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité, 1984

Greenfield, A., Everyware: the dawning age of ubiquitous computing: 1st ed., Berkeley, California, New Riders Publishing, 2006

Grosz, E., Architecture from the Outside - Essays on Virtual and Real Space, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2001

Heim, M., The metaphysics of virtual reality, Oxford university press, 1993

Huxley, A., Doors of perception: Heaven and Hell, Fontal Lobe Publishing, 2011

Juul, J., Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds, The MIT Press, 2011

Knowles, M. και Moon, R., Introducing metaphor, Routledge, London, 2005

Laurel, B., Computers as theatre, Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., Reading, 1991

Leach, N. (Ed.), Designing for a Digital World, Academy Press, 2002

Metz, Ch., The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema, Indiana University Press,1986

Spiller, N., Cyber Reader: critical Writings for the digital era, Phaidon Press, 2002

Turkle, Sh., Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet, Simon and Schuster, 1995

Virilio, P., A Landscape of Events (Writing Architecture), The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000

Wertheim, M., The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet, New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1999

Zafra, R. A connected room of one’s own; (Cyber)space and (self)management of the self, Fórcola Ediciones, 2012

LINK

https://digitalitycourses.wixsite.com/digitaltotem