from objects to networks (project two)

mcdonald's branded plane

In the second part of the semester, we turned from objects to networks, to understand the commodity as an assemblage precipitating out of the flows of the global traffic in things.

If modernism was driven by the model of the factory—localized, vertically integrated, rationalized by Fordist and Taylorist mechanical strategies—today we can no longer point to such discrete structures in the urban field. No one place or type of place dominates the fluid flow of objects and electronic impulses in the circuit around the globe.

Under the regime of Empire, Tafuri's observation that the ideology of the plan would be replaced by the reality of the plan is itself obsolete. Instead, the plan gives way to the tactics of supply-chain management, the assemblage of the object driven as instantaneously as possibly by the free-floating desires of the consumer and the needs of the market.

Mimicking the action of Derridean différance, agency is endlessly deferred across the infrastructural network. Global networks desire to be pervasive and unmappable. What strategies can we develop for interfering with this condition?

Throughout, the studio considers the architectural and urbanistic implications of logistics networks. How have these produced deformations in the built domain—from the massive (e.g. megaports) to the medium (e.g. corporate headquarters and control centers for these networks) to the intimate (e.g. the need to accommodate packages in apartment buildings). Students were encouraged to use the tools of architecture, e.g. plan, section, projection, elevation, and models to convey their arguments.