12.10.16 Tutorial Recap

The feedback and discussion from this weeks tutorial was as follows:

  • Issues of scale remain – needs to be resolved in order to create the folly
  • The folly looks parasitic, like ivy. Could it cling onto other parts of the site or should it be freestanding?
  • Animation of the system – how does it move and reconfigure itself? Could it respond to people as they move around the space via sensor? Thus the experience of the folly will change each time. The reconfiguration movement of the geometry be based on a precedent from nature
  • Simplify the geometries and choose components to bring into the next development model
  • Contrast between interior and exterior?
  • Elevation from the ground plane

Precedents:

  • Roger Penrose drawings
  • Star Trek: Beyond
  • Philip Beesley – Protocell Mesh
  • Henri Labrouste – Bibliotheque Nationale (mixed qualities of nature and the mechanical)
  • Charles Stross – Accelerando (technological singularity, machines that build themselves and have a desire to consume materials)
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Wellcome Collection Exhibition Visit

My intention was to use photogrammetry to create 3D models of actual parts of human anatomy, through visiting anatomy museums. However, it will take several weeks to get the research passes needed. Unfortunately the best anatomy museums are open to medical professionals only, so I may have to rethink my modelling strategy! However, I was able to visit the Wellcome Collection, which did provide some inspiration.

Clockwise from left: ‘Body Slice’ from the Institute of Plastination -a section of the human body preserved by plastination, in which water in the body is replaced with plastic; ‘Sense’ by Annie Cattrell – sculpture created from MRI images of brain activity when one of the five senses is activated; an early prosthetic arm.

One thought-provoking item in the collection was the skull of a human who had undergone trepanation. Although trepanation has mainly been used in medical practice, there also exists an idea, put forward by Dr Bart Hughes in 1962, that a person’s state of consciousness is related to the volume of blood in the brain. He proposed that this could be increased through trepanation, leading to a higher state of consciousness as experienced by young children before their skull is fully sealed. Of course, no evidence that this is actually the case has ever been found.

 

Photogrammetry Test

It was discussed after the last tutorial that one way of achieving 3D models of the organic shapes from my collage would be to use photogrammetry, ie. using photographs to create a 3D model.

To learn the process, I took a series of photographs around a plant (chosen as it was sufficiently detailed and had organic shapes). I then uploaded the photos to Autodesk ReCap 360 to create a point cloud model of the object.

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The model, once rendered, was missing some parts due to some of the photos not being stitched together, and also ran into some other issues. Although I photographed the object on a uniform background, changes in light as I moved around it meant that in some of the photos the background was not recognised to be the same. I also discovered that it is best to place a marker before taking the photographs, in order to allow the software to stitch the images together more accurately. After this test I learnt how to stitch together images manually for the program to add to the model. Despite the process not working as expected, I do quite like the final model, which looks rather surreal.

 

Concept Development: The Human of the Future

Further areas of interest relating to the human body are the evolution and possible future obsolescence of the body.

As technology evolves the human body will evolve with it. We are seeing both natural changes in the body due to the use of technology, and also a kind of ‘manmade’ evolution through the upgrading of the body via new medical technologies. These changes currently occur after we are born and participate in a technological society, however it could be predicted that these changes will eventually affect our genetic make up, so that in future babies will be born with a biology that is adapted for the technological world. A kind of technological ‘nature vs nuture’, where we will move from changes in the body via nuture, or extensive use of technology, to a human race that is biologically inseparable from the impact of technology.

goldfishmemory
Credit: http://www.time.com
technologyevolution
Credit: http://www.marketingweek.com

Many of the key changes are happening in the brain. The constant stream of information affects memory as well as the way the brain processes the information, and even our ability to deep read.

In addition to these changes which are a by-product of technology use, the body is also being purposefully upgraded and enhanced.

exoskeleton2
Credit: http://www.technologyreview.com
exoskeleton
Credit: http://www.sciencemag.org

What once was science fiction has fast become reality, as increasingly extensive technological body enhancement becomes possible. The options are vast: practical transhumanists have already augmented their bodies with antenna allowing them to hear colour, implanted magnets into their fingertips in order to feel electromagnetic currents, and even attempted to develop infrared vision through diet.

What is interesting to me is the ways in which the human body might one day become obsolete. If human augmentation becomes widely available, and is used not only where necessary but simply to become stronger, faster and more powerful, would people renounce their biology to become mechanically evolved? The impact on society would be vast. We would likely see clashes between those for and against extensive enhancement. The image of an augmented military, with abilities not granted to the average citizen, is highly dystopic, with widespread implications.

It is this idea of the human of the future that I would like to explore further in the architectural project, with a focus on linking this to the biological forms previously explored.

Header image credit: Sun Lee via www.wired.co.uk

Tutorial Feedback

Tutorial 2 – 5.10.16

Feedback

After presenting the images in my last post, the feedback was that the folly modelling did not represent the concept images. More suitable modelling tools should be chosen to represent the forms of the collages,and I should experiment with adding different textures to modelled forms. Colour was another key aspect – the inclusion of colour in the imagery would allow the image to be much more visceral, particularly due to the nature of the forms.

One of the reasons the modelling was not successful was because of the ground plane – this was very restrictive, especially at this stage of the process. As the collage was scaleless, attempting to impose it onto a flat plane straight away detracted from the idea, and in hindsight I should have recognised this from the difficulties I had translating the image to a model earlier on in the process. Overall I will be continuing the conceptual work and strengthening it in order to move towards the forms of the final folly.

For the next tutorial, as well as developing the work based on the feedback given, we should also think about location and scale. One point that was brought up about my concept images was that they were scaleless, and the folly could be something that stretched across a large area of the site organically.

 

Initial Ideas

My initial ideas are based around the way the human body relates to architectural form. In my undergraduate dissertation I researched the systems of proportion that have been applied to architecture in the past, from the golden ratio to the Vitruvian Man and Le Corbusier’s ‘Modulor’, focusing on how attitudes towards spirituality in society affected the use of human-based proportional systems. In the initial ideas for the folly project, I aimed to subvert these past ideas of how architecture relates to the body by instead looking at the architectural forms created in nature within the body, using SEM (scanning electron microscope) imagery.

collage1-3
Collage of architectural and abstract elements formed of microscopic images.

I created a series of collages composed of SEM images, formed of elements such as bone, muscle fibers, hair cells and neurons. I found it interesting how these elements, which in a way are familiar to us, become distorted and unrecognisable. The individual forms become grotesque, and in a way even aggressive and ominous. I was interested in creating a flowing, organic shape that has a kind of movement, with the forms compiled to reach upwards, and key elements guiding the eye of the viewer.

collage5

In another collage I aimed to introduce a sense of space through the microscopic images, attempting to put together elements that have a clearer resemblance to architectural forms and are somewhat familiar looking, while retaining a sense of the abstract.

 

I was interested in layering textures, which my earlier initial images also explored. I then wanted to use these images to form a more rational folly. My folly was an attempt to imagine these forms within a physical space, something the viewer could move around and explore. However, I felt that the results did not show the characteristics of the initial images, and lost the sense of abstraction and ambiguity that made them interesting.