Saturday, February 25, 2012

Final Project Theme: Metacities

The conceptual departure point for my final project for CSM's Foundation course lies in the idea of an "alternate city" like the Tokyo described by Julius designer Tatsuro Horikawa in an interview with scoute, "Tokyo is very much a part of who I am, but it is not the everyday Tokyo of tourists and salary-men, but more of an alternate Tokyo of the mind. A big influence on my early years was the manga and movie “Akira” which tells of Neo-Tokyo, a post apocalyptic megalopolis. It is this Tokyo which is MY Tokyo, it exists in my consciousness and in the consciousness of a whole generations who saw “Akira” , “Blade Runner” and “Mad Max”. It is a Tokyo shaped by Techno and Industrial Music and underground culture which exists right alongside the “normal” city and I was very much immersed in this kind of cyber-punk reality. My personal background is 100% based in the underground culture and I will always exist here in the Neo-Tokyo underground." I see this as an example of form following fiction: reality and fiction always inform each other.

As well as considering futuristic/alternate cities and their comprising elements as a design motif, I'm interested in considering the concept of the meta-cities that exist alongside the so called real city; the underground culture that is not necessarily experienced by those existing in the surface city and the people like those described in the previous quote using fiction and creative media to transcend the present time and space by creating a different version of a city which they can actually inhabit, making real their own "Neo-Tokyo undergrounds". Music subcultures are especially emblematic of what is sometimes referred to as an "alternative lifestyle" because of the nature of the spaces like nightclubs and concert venues, they are highly customisable and specific. I will be looking at the cyberpunk/hacker subculture that experienced popularity in the 80s/90s which I feel is one of the most cohesive and developed examples of this phenomenon, considering that it was expressed in fashion, music, literature, visual art, film, etc., and persists today.

I intend to research artists and works that deal with "the city" in this sense and to explore their intentions that will potentially shape future cities and their citizens.

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