Today, Architecture exists more as images than lived experiences.

As the myth goes, the discipline’s ability to serve and shape a public has been weakened by its own desires for autonomy, and the mass privatization of public space. Hope for architecture today is found, instead, in its ability to be shared online. There, its value is in its newfound velocity, intensity, and spread - an ability to “get around.” Attention is a currency and the image, a visual byte that circulates, has already replaced the building in space, as such. Architecture is on and of the web, and it can shape public there.

My thesis sought to speed up this process. At the center of this is a twitter bot, @archmixes, which allows anyone to tweet new architecture made as a composite from amateur 3d models of famous buildings found online. Replies from the bot are transmitted back to the user as an image, 3d model, a Shopify listing, and a Pin on Pinterest. What comes to the fore here are issues of history and authorship that are exposed as increasingly collective and flattened acts.

The final critique culminated in “situation” hosted in a simulated living room. Here, audience and reviewers learned from a YouTube tutorial how to tweet to the bot, making architecture an everyday act, and shuttling their work around the web. Included in the situation were architectural tchotchkes 3d printed from tweets, sitting on shelves, and the entire event was live broadcast on YouTube.

Creativity has been democratized: now anyone with a phone and repost button can sculpt their own aesthetic universes, be it on Instagram, YouTube, or SoundCloud. Through recycling the pixel, vector, and mesh-waste that lives online, architecture has the opportunity to sustain the archive of its disciplinary history; it stands the chance to engage publics, it might even sustain an economy of attention in the era of perpetual distraction.

2016

@archmixes is the twitter account, and archmixlist.tumblr.com is a list of buildings with corresponding codes that can be tweeted. Use the form "@archmixes #BuildingCode #BuildingCode #BuildingCode" for it to work.

Sam Ghantous

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