Copies: in an Age of Network Culture
Compilation zine, Place-Holder, Issue #3, place-holder.net, $20
Generation loss, the cumulative degradation of a file’s repeated processing, unfolds like a game of broken telephone. By the end of it, the transfers have rendered the message incoherent, or, depending on the medium have taken on a new meaning of its own. As a collection of designs, experiments, essays, and interviews, Copies: in an Age of Network Culture explores such digital behaviours through an architectural lens, a look into the growing relationship between the built and rendered environments.
The online spread of data has never been more abundant, and its content never more complex. The inherently visual nature of architecture has benefitted most from these recent developments, which has opened up the opportunity for detailed form analysis and rendering. Ines Weizman introduced her piece with “the very real possibility that a building, any building, can be scanned and then remade as a perfect mirror of itself.”
The contributors focus on whether the act of copying is diluting or strengthening new ideas. Max Yuristy’s “Generation Loss” provides a rendering of its namesake; dazzle patterns emerge from a repeatedly resized image, a photograph of a painting whose fate was met in a fire. Conversely, Cory Arcangel’s “Working On My Novel”(article by Webb) consists solely of a Twitter bot aggregating the titled phrase, creating a story by navigating a cliché.
Though some of the pieces expand beyond the discipline, Copies is at its core an architectural inquiry. The works look at technology with clinical curiosity without delving into the technical. Despite this, the reader is still left to wonder about next steps. The loss of information is naturally more common than its creation, and there’s a sense that architecture is calling for a breakthrough in this new age.