M.Arch. Thesis Supervisor Statement
LIFE IN THE FOURTH

Can there be an “artificial culture” as there is an “artificial intelligence,” if in fact “culture” means the implicit and ambiguous – and also dream, art, feelings, meaning and value? Our robotic machines have acquired sight, hearing and touch, but…thought is not the same thing as calculation, nor the brain as intellect…

Régis Debray, Media Manifesto: On the Technological Transmission of Cultural Forms (1996: 120)

Whilst the latter half of the twentieth century witnessed breakthroughs in computing and robotics, the Fourth Industrial Revolution shaping this millennium is characterised by the merging of technologies, consequently blurring the physical and digital divide, and integrating at an unprecedented speed and scale on a systematic level (Schwab 2016). It is an ineluctable fact that the technological and digital integration in our everyday lives has thoroughly transformed the way we now live, work, interact and think, irrevocably reinscribing our spatial narratives. To illustrate, the term ‘lifehack’ – a techno-geek neologism coined by Danny O’Brien in 2004 – has since entered mainstream vocabulary to refer to (ironically) expedient low-tech troubleshooting suggestions and shortcuts to complete mundane tasks in our offline world. By adopting a human-centred approach, we will attempt to confront the affective impact of techno-digital ubiquity from the perspectives of evolution and, more crucially, ethics, for teleological insights.

M.Arch. candidates are strongly encouraged to participate in the core activities of the tutor’s Options studio in Semester 1 – an immersive environment workshop in W1, studio trip to Seoul in W2 and public exhibition at the National Library, Singapore, in early December 2019.

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