Making Architecture with Patchers and ‘Funny’ Fabbers: Fabrication Cultures in and with William Gibson’s The Peripheral

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning


The field of architectural design has, in the last years, shown an increasing interest in SF. This interest can be as simple as adopting the imaginative freedom that SF inspires, or it may be directed towards SF as a conceptual space to create, test, and critique the utopian speculations of architectural practice or the impact of emerging technology on design. This paper describes making cultures in William Gibson’s The Peripheral (2014) in order to stimulate a critical dialogue with digital fabrication technology in ‘real-world’ architectural design and to resituate making cultures in relation to new material and technological constraints and opportunities.

The future, in Gibson’s famous formulation, is here, it is just not evenly distributed yet. The fragmentation and plurality of imagined futures in Gibson’s work emerges as a collage of socio-urban and material constructs, marking a tension between a totalizing vision of futurity and the emergence of marginal sites or enclaves of resistance to capitalist power. These sites describe speculative technologies and making cultures in opposition to the dominant directives informing the construction of hegemonic urban space. An architectural reading of the spatial interference and material articulation in Gibson’s The Peripheral shows that not only is the future a contested space, it is being contested in the present.

The paper argues that 3D printing is a particular locus for this contestation of material ecologies, fabrication technology, and urban agency in The Peripheral, and describes how this reading inspires diverse practices in architectural making. Using a method known as Research Through Design, the project uncovers latent potentials in Gibson’s worlding as a “site” for architectural production, through a creative appropriate of the estrangement of the text, to introduce alternative material economies and a projection of a non-alienated relation to labour and technology. This new “site” changes the way we approach 3D printing as a material and fabrication technology, and formal and aesthetic driver, which has implications for sustainable, ethical modes of working under different strictures than might be implied by dominant narratives in digital architectural design.
Publikationsdato24 jun. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 24 jun. 2019
BegivenhedScience Fiction Research Association Annual Conference 2019: Facing the Future, Facing the Past: Colonialism, Indigeneity, & Science Fiction - Chaminade University, Honolulu, USA
Varighed: 20 jun. 201924 jun. 2019


KonferenceScience Fiction Research Association Annual Conference 2019
LokationChaminade University

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