Prototypes of the Informational Revolution: SynchronicityTobias Klein
In 1967, nearly 30 years before the invention of the internet, Marshall McLuhan predicted that ‘in this electronic age we see ourselves being translated… into the form of information, moving toward the technological extension of consciousness’. Superseding McLuhan’s prediction, today’s social, cultural and economic reality is largely made up of 900 million Facebook users, tweeting up to 15,000 tweets per second – the web. Behind the electronic dream, we glance at the infrastructural epitome of our time – an electromagnetic behemoth consuming two per cent of the world’s energy. A world of intoxicating data transfer rates, running through countless server hubs, black fibre-optic cables on the floor of our oceans, crisscrossing the globe to shave off a fraction of trading time. This is today’s reality, fuelled by the metropoles – physical residues and engines of a newly established hybrid urbanity.
Set within this socio-technological reality, Diploma 1 explores the idea of synchronicity – the articulation of a series of events and spaces causally unrelated, yet occurring and perceived solely in a precisely constructed framework. In consequence we aim to establish architecture that is dislocated from an singular analogue genius loci in favour of a speculative choreographed urban condition. Our testing ground will be the artificial space in between London and New York. Divided physically by the Atlantic, but intrinsically connected not only through a net of fibre optics, these two metropoles are able to articulate civic architectures occurring in the constructed overlaps of our digital networks and actual realities. Embodied within these two nodal points, Diploma 1 seeks the emergence of a third city constructed as a series of speculative public spaces, timely dislocated events, electromagnetic ecclesial constructs, agendas for economic and ecological choreographed interdependencies. This is a call to define spatial strategies for civic structures stretched over a distance of 5,500km – a new terra incognita, ready to be articulated and acknowledged as part of today’s architecture.
Tobias Klein studied architecture at the RWTH (Aachen, Germany), the University of Applied Arts (Vienna, Austria) and the Bartlett School for Architecture (London, UK). He has worked for Coop Himmelb(l)au before opening his own practice, Studio Tobias Klein. The practice operates in the between architecture and art, across the fields of installation, experimental design, interactivity and urbanism. The studio was recently commissioned to install work at the V&A in June 2012. He is one of the founders of .horhizon, has lectured internationally at Royal College of Art, TU Munich, TU Innsbruck and has been teaching at the AA since 2008.