Phantom (not-so) Imaginary Islands

a physical-digital assemblage

#stream #weare #inbetween #bewrong #sailaway #toanotherworld

In the Age of Discovery, seafaring navigators and explorers set off to detect unknown lands and regions across the globe. Some of their discoveries turned out to be nothing but phantom islands and places, atolls or archipelagos, that have been assumed to be actual and struck in precise cartographies but never physically existed. They resulted from mistaken observations, navigational errors, unverified information, and sometimes deliberate fantastical fabrications. This does not make them less real! They are there, telling stories, producing spaces. There is Antilia, Fantastica and Mount Analogue, Imaginary Island, The City of Immortals and Laputa. Ultra-High Definition satellite, aerial images and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) of today eventually erased these lands from the map.

The mirroworld, the perfectly overlapping digital copy of our physical world, is not yet entirely constructed, but it is becoming real: soon, every physical place and object will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld. Google Earth is already a rough version of this mirrorworld and its improvement is under construction. Still, in the effort to perfectly reproduce our environment, a significant quantity of glitches and cracks came into existence. Null Island, for example, with zero degrees latitude and zero degrees longitude (0°N 0°E), does not physically exist: it is a location, a single point, a shared cartographic placeholder trapping the geolocation errors, the spot where all the unlocatable artifacts are collected.

In this semester, reflecting on the future development of physical-digital relationships and invasions in combination with spatial production, we will start our journey like the ancient explorers eager to discover new fantastical locations! This nomadic seminar will venture out on expeditions into the strange world of phantom islands and imaginary land and their local twins in the mirroworld. Every group will select a site from the dictionary of imaginary places. We will analyze its composition, story and cartography, reconstruct and rethink it, exploring its imaginary potential and spatial qualities. We will then search for an appropriate physical location in the mirrorworld were to accurately drill our fictional island out, extracting the 1:1 physical spatial elements of the scene. We will then assemble virtual and actual moments following our storytelling, allowing the emergence of speculative scenarios – a physical-digital assemblage. Through photogrammetry and modeling, the reterritorialized island will come into existence. In one collective exhibition, we will navigate the virtual space from physical models, jumping from island to island. And we will bring the islands back to Google Maps, making them public, raising questions. So hoist the sails, the mouse cursor becoming our sextant, our screens turn into telescopes!

Throughout our journey, we will ask ourselves: How will virtual worlds alter the value of architecture? Which effects will have for us to dwell simultaneously in dual worlds? What defines the identity of a place? How does a place come into existence? What does materiality mean in virtual spaces? What does constitute the ‘real’?

./studio3: Anna Pompermaier, Stefan Maier

students: Al Jbali Sandra, Anding Jennifer, Baser Muhammet Bünyamin, Beetz Christian Jürgen, Blomdahl Josefine, Brübach Johannes, Demircan Ercan, Edelmann, Julian, Fantini Mirco, Freudenberg Sarah,Goham Valentin, Haller Raphaela Elisabeth, Hetzenauer Michael, Kharkovchuk Vitalii, Koc Beritan, Kogler Florian, Özkan Muhammed Atakan, Rahmani Djamel Eddine, Resch Johannes Sebastian, Schmidt Matthias, Spannring Altagracia