Diploma 9 Assaf Kimmel, Liberated Liberals, Diploma 9, 2017–18


Stefan Laxness, Antoine Vaxelaire

In 1913, the french composer Camille Saint- Saëns attended the infamous premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Astonished by the sound the bassoon produced, Saint-Saëns ironically told a friend ‘If this is a bassoon, I am a baboon.’ He knew the instrument (and its potential) very well, yet he had never heard a bassoon produce such a sound. To Saint-Saëns’s expert ear, Stravinsky’s trick was both simple and elegant: a manipulation of the bassoon’s potential that would change music forever. In Diploma 9, we too will trick the forces at play to create alternative outcomes; we too will rigorously twist every bit of information to update antiquated systems. Our objective is naively simple: to subvert current technological landscapes so as to create collateral bene ts rather than incur collateral damage.

This year, we will embrace Stravinsky’s design strategy by continuing to construct Pantopias. A pantopia is not a twenty- first century utopia but a near-reality terrain where outdated paradigms of politics, economy and identity are heavily resisted, provoked and (ultimately) updated. Far from isolated and idealistic, a pantopia is connected and pragmatic; it exists on every cubic centimetre that makes up our world and frames a fierce and agonistic adversary of the current hegemonic state of affairs. Students will define and map the spatial territory of their thesis through an atlas and this land will be explored through the design of the operative machines that consume and modify it in order to ultimately leak the project and provoke the possible new paradigmatic individuals of a pantopia to emerge.


Stefan Laxness is an AA graduate, architect, researcher and project coordinator at Forensic Architecture, Goldsmiths University. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale and the recent Antarctic Pavilion at the Venice Bienalle (2017). He has worked in architectural practices in Paris and London and has researched the changing landscapes of China's and Central Asia's borders.

Antoine Vaxelaire graduated from the AA with Honours in 2013. He has worked for several offices in London, Brussels, Zurich, Tokyo and Mexico City. In 2016 he co-founded TOI T, a creative consultancy studio based in Barcelona and Brussels.

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