Ghost Hardware

GHOST HARDWARE reunites online in order to speculate and visualize how in a world where the outside exists through mere utilitarian routines and as footage on screen, we as individuals can travel through the bodiless folds of the mainstream internet, seeking ludic imagination, momentary interaction, new forms of interuser intimacy, where users navigate and make spaces that can exist in the in between of the real and imaginary.

We will build up these wormholes out of apathy, boredom, perversion, or mere illusion. Spaces where time slows down and intends to recreate through resolution and high detail definition a portion of what we may have lost or simply project our wishes and desires into a new ambiguous dimension. Such is not a theme or a game, but a scape. Escaping the fact that the simulation has taken over the outside world.


KEY MATERIALS: 
- Simulacra and Simulation - Jean Baudrillard
- The Theory of Bloom - Tiqqun
     [heavier books]
- The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace - Margaret Wertheim
- Bubbles - Peter Sloterdijk

The Future of Public Space

Just don’t.

You did Zoom happy hour, awkward work meetings on Skype, family chats on WhatsApp, virtual sex on Facetime, and you were good at answering your boss, colleagues, friends and relatives while you were sitting on the toilet or in a video game party.

But, you have no story about it. Good or bad. Jimmy didn’t ironically put anything in his butt while he was drunk (again). Jennifer didn’t throw up over the balcony, destroying Mrs. Smith’s roses on the terrace below. And Max and Lawrence didn’t sneak into the bathroom to cheat only to be caught in the act later that night. Don’t lie to us on this—online events don’t have a good story, gossip or any build-up for the next party… For now.

Because a good party, a good family event, or, to be simple, a good memory, is like a good episode of your favourite show: it needs a context, set-up and many pay-offs. Conversations are a kind of constant social writing and build-up of a souvenir to be shared with others. Like a good Instagram story where virtual identities become characters—you follow characters you like or discover others that could be cool to meet for fun…or alchemy…or sex.

And when you meet again at the next party, nobody heads directly for the dance floor (except Karen, but she’s an idiot), instead, you gather around the bar for a first drink and to people watch. That funny anecdote from the last party is the perfect conversation starter to reconnect. A kind of social set-up to share with friends. And the rest of the evening rebounds on this moment. In space, this setup is a foyer, an entrance or a lobby– a place to gather and frame the rest of the experience.

And, just like in the real world, with online meetings or events, the party doesn’t start immediately. It’s still a step-by-step process. We need a framework to prepare us to enter the experience. Like a video game intro, opening film credits, an opera prologue or the entrance of a theme park.

The Survey of “Domestic Animals”

“...Domestic Animals is the story of a project that starts out with objects and
clothes but extends to the house and the city. I believe in fact that many of the
future aspects worn by architecture will arise not out of new modes of designing
and building, but out of new ways of using the house. The house is a machine
that has just begun to be used...”

Andrea BranziDomestic (and not trained) Animals

Welcome to the/(y)our home, which demands your constant focus for work that happens everywhere. We now selectively expose a part of the bedroom which has been organised for a virtual meeting for work. The kitchen and the dining table have been retrofitted and turned into an office. Deadlines are more intense than before, and we no longer have the time for a proper meal whilst working inside the kitchen. As the boundary between work/live dissolves, some may attempt to separate the inseparable by setting up a daily routine, while others may seek out new comfort, the private space within the private: Netflix, Mukbang, ASMR experience, white noise YouTube channels become the new comfort and private space without having a definite distinction between what calms you down and what distracts you. 

Yet our house still symbolises the perpetuating image of ‘homeliness’: retrograde family values, forms of living and typological thinking are constantly idealised and reanimated from the inanimate. As a resulting condition of the neoliberal project, we now witness a dissolution of work/live, family forms, forms of living and the associated typologies that arise from the paring of acceleration of innovation and uncertainty. This is one of the most common and pervasive features of contemporary metropolitan life: a metaphysical and existential alienation and homelessness. In a sense, we have all become nomads. In many ways, however, the non-fixity is promising and liberating because it sets us free from historical forms of discipline, hierarchy and constraint over who we can become.

Once any illusion of home is discarded, and its mystifying powers dispelled, we can begin to investigate the deeper aspirations that lie latent behind the conditioned responses and images. By surveying our current condition of ‘home’framed at a variety of scales – from an object, interior, house, city and the globe, we can begin to understand and examine the established status quo and different ways of organising our space and daily lives. The survey of “domestic animals” will manifest the possibility to denaturalise the habitualised forms of life. Inspired by Andrea Branzi’s “Domestic Animals”, we will make precise surveys of our own “home” as documentation of the process of permanent hybridization and nomadization, where we (continuously struggle to) re-invent, retrofit, forget and live.

Unknown Territories

The Great Unknown land of the South, Terra Australis Incognita, was the name given to a theoretical continent required by the classical Greek geographers, knowing that the Earth was spherical, to balance the landmass known to exist north of the equator. Our studio investigates lands to be mapped not by conventional cartography, but by digital exploration of lands in dimensions not yet established. Join us in a radical exploration of speculative futures where we will begin our journey by inspecting the scenes of the wild lands of Australia, their large scale environments, and extreme natural conditions.

Psychotropic Topologies

The studio “Psychotropic topologies” displaces our traditional understanding of the body as an isolated and physically delimited site of perception and experience. The aim of the studio is to develop novel strategies for cyber-physical transfers, merging the digital realm of data with the realm of the body and matter.

A global pandemic such as COVID19, shows us the urgency to develop new tools for digital embodiment, remoteness and digital communities. Until now physical spaces and digital spaces remained ontologically and spatially separated. However, current technologies allow a broader range of possible transmissions that can expand our presence and experience. Embodiment is the body’s ability to sense, feel and interact with the environment.  His studio uses digital embodiment as a mode to expand beyond the purely physical body to the digital one. This digital embodiment connects us to our digital avatar and enables the creation of a personalized digital environment. This space has the ability to feel, perceive and act while being limited, created and expanded by the physical body.

The studio will ask the students to imagine and generate a digitally embodied space, which physically reacts to their user and thus adapts its spatiality to them. Those spaces will adjust and reconfigure themselves to their residents and visitors. The studio will create a virtual experience by establishing an analogy between digital representation and physiological data collected by the user during its daily routine of confinement. As in the psychotropic building described in JG Ballard’s text “The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista” the house affects its residents mental state, shifting the subject – object dilemma to a “quasi-object” and “potential-subject” storyline. In 1982, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, two Chilean biologist, described the nature of living systems capable of reproducing and maintaining itself. The experience of this house “as alive” can not easily be associated to the performer/audience model (Philip Auslander), but is rather placed as technologically mediated relationship amongst different subjects.