Architectural Practice in the Age of Virality
The basic quality of our fast-morphing, transitional, technological epoch THE-FUTURE-IS-NOW– the translation from the mechanical into the digital era, is VIRALITY. Not virtuality, given that augmentative reality, has been for some time now more real than the real one, more concrete and tangible, but virality. Virality is OUTREACH/AVAILABILITY and DISSEMINATION/DISPERSION.
The self-staged and highly-designed demise of David Bowie has raised quite a tsunami of social-network lamenting, glorification and worshipping, even by those who neither had heard of him nor knew him. Not because he authored a series of generational super-hits, or because of his I-am-a-work-of-art-by-myself of iconic chameleon-like personalities that triggered not only musical but also fashion trends, but because of the fact that, for his entire life, and especially at its end, he was outreached and disseminated, and hence viral. The loss of modernist giants like Mahatma Gandhi, Jean-Paul Sartre or our own Tito did not, not even close, echo so loudly, causing such collective disbelief and global void, as Bowie’s did.
The President of the United States is no longer selected by CNN because it is not sufficiently viral, but Twitter. The labels of SELFIES and LIKES have turned great narratives into IMPULSIVE, INSTINCTIVE, and INSTANT, at first glance unrelated actions, where changes are not being carried out by revolution, but through evolutionary processes, REBRANDING and RECYCLING.
SOFT skills, SOFT economies, FRIVOLOUS assuming of everyone and everything out of nowhere, basic JUNGLE MINIMALISM that says – you can do it alone, you don’t need anyone or anything – is turning us into medieval, traveling know-it-alls do-it-alls, renaissance troubadours who cannot think further ahead than the next lunch.
Massive theoretical tracts are replaced by operative SURVIVAL MANUALS, where ONE WORD IS WORTH A THOUSAND IMAGES because hyper-investing in the visual also leads to its inevitable devaluation. Everything in the world that is formed on uncertain constellations must be OVERT and FLUID, susceptible to CONSTANT NEGOTIATING.
In an Uberised society of INDIVIDUALITY, INDEPENDENCE and IDENTITY, expressed in the MOST COMPREHENSIBLE and SIMPLEST messages, which build the world in line with FIRST PRINCIPLES, instead of the standard, analogical manner of thinking and acting, the biggest manufacturer of today is creating the NEED FOR ONESELF and one’s own services.
Even though MY ALGORITHM knows my taste better than I do, certain things will never lose their appeal, such as WALKING, RIDING A BIKE, COOKING, DRAWING, and GROWING PLANTS.
Everyday AUTO-REINVESTING by simultaneous multitasking, or to be more clear, by multi-work/action, with the hybrid force of operative or selective RESILIENCE, by accepting yesterday’s EPHEMERIS, instead of so-called serious issues, generates the survival instinct of today where ADAPTABILITY continues to be the first principle.
Everything that was up to now regarded as the PRODUCT is turning into a SERVICE. Instead of the millennia-long leaning of horizontal structural elements on vertical ones, architecture as an ATMOSPHERIC EFFECT is based on projected IMPERFECTION and constant INCOMPLETENESS, resting on the SOCIAL ECOLOGY of the neighborhood with the mandatory going back to a ZERO-FOOTPRINT state after usage. There are no more architects, only DRONE PILOTS.
Instead of drawing long, black lines for the museum of architecture, the inauguration of the logic of APOLLO 13 brings entrepreneurship to a new level – PROVOKE, ENGAGE, and INTERCONNECT. Or as the top world promoter Elon Musk says, everything needs to be “beautiful, affordable and SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATED”. He will be remembered longer than Steve Jobs because he is not into gadgets, but ENERGY and TRANSPORT. He dissolves the world into simple factors, so as to reassemble it with FINE TUNING into a different form, more PIXELLED, with BETTER RESOLUTION, in HD. He asks for OPPORTUNITY/POSSIBILITY, he creates OPPORTUNITY/POSSIBILITY, he does not miss OPPORTUNITY/POSSIBILITY. He uses the minimalistic simplicity of OCCAM'S RAZOR. He uses PATTERNS instead of language. He shows us that the solutions we are aware of are no longer solutions at all and that TECHNOLOGY does not get obsolete, it simply DEVELOPS, that the PROXIMITY OF THE GOAL is better than accuracy without a goal.
And the architectural clientele, instead of designs, seeks INFLUENCE, POWER, and MONEY, while KITSCH has become more than ever before the BACKBONE OF SOCIETY. Therefore, GUERRILLA BEHAVIOROLOGY, SYSTEM HACKING, and the usage of EXTERNAL RESOURCES play a key role in the architectural practice of today. DAY-BY-DAY recomposing without back-up, managed UNCERTAINTY, the economy of SHARING, IMPROVISATION, and IMPERSONALISATION at any time and place, all this need to be SUPER-RECHARGEABLE AND SUPER-ADAPTABLE.
Since FLAVOUR ENHANCERS are replacing buildings, we are more into designing EMOTIONS and EXPERIENCE rather than putting a stone on stone.