Thursday, 6 September 2012

Simon Herron

 Simon Herron is one of our speakers at LAS*12

In February 1967 Architectural Design magazine published a special issue exploring the future “2000+”, the cover art a high contrast image originally produced for Cutler and Hammer an aerospace tech company from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The image a headshot of Rocket Man, in uniform white, opaque reflective black visor, set against a brilliant red background.

Guest edited by John McHale, the issue opens with an edited address by Buckminster Fuller, confronting the difficulties predicting 35 years into the future with any degree of confidence or accuracy. Sandwiched between adverts for everyday building materials, RAWPLUGS, aluminium profiles, sectional doors, and the latest from Lea Valley Kitchens, were articles examining the latest in outer and inner space hardware with this seasons must have in Life Support System from General Dynamic to the ultimate in integrated augmented technologies in Man+.

Fast forward to 2012. Don’t you get that curious and unnerving feeling that we are all somehow unwittingly working for Google or Facebook? Increasingly we inhabit a world living vicariously through the encrypted pseudo personalities of our on screen in-world micro personas . . . unconsciously drifting through hypertext paradigms. A world in which we practice living our life, detached, seamlessly switching through various mediated context specific selves Instant Messaging, Twittering, curiously making ourselves up as we go along.

Mashing of context, deliciously devoid of any true content, enacting genres, adopting alternate personalities, role-playing, outsourcing our emotions, whilst exhibiting those of others. Wondering, whose personality is this anyhow? A fragmented psychosis, unconsciously and collectively dreamt up, left over from some discarded marketing campaign? With such shared interrelated experiences, a world in which everyone is so profoundly involved, the self becomes somewhat shapeless and hard to pin down.
Boundaries have traditionally defined the physical geographical limits of the tribe. The machines and technologies of mass observation and communication blur and dissolve our Cartesian certainty. This detached observer systematically distanced outside of the frame of experience.

We will consider the utopian dreams of the 20th Century, from the counter culture of the 50’s and 60’s through the nihilistic disillusionment of Punk, the ambivalence of Generation X to the Anti–Globalization alliance and environmental activism of 10:10?

Simon Herron

Academic Leader in Architecture School of Architecture Design and Construction University of Greenwich


Velvet Air projects: Home to a selection of images from our archive of student work.

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