“Preposthuman: An Architectural Propaedeutic for the Digitally-Enhanced”
In the 1980s, theorists in the humanities and technology sciences envisioned a new stage in human development: the Posthuman. They saw the Posthuman as a type of cybernetic organism—a cyborg—in which physical and intelligence-based modifications are co-produced with machines. With the technological developments of the 2000s, many of their predictions started coming true. The recent near-ubiquity of personal internet devices and oncoming wearable technologies bring the posthuman closer, and less like science-fiction. This thesis imagines a fictional architecture that trains its occupants towards a posthuman existence.
For humans to complete their transition into the posthuman the architectural environment must become a training apparatus, a type of propaedeutic, where our built developments simultaneously develop us. This project fashions waste, ingestion, lounging, and bathing environments as components of our posthuman training grounds. Within posthumanism, singularity does not occur—we do not transcend our anatomy into some type of digital non-space. Despite our advanced technology, our bodies remain legitimate. Spaces remain legitimate. As posthumans we will use our environment and our bodies as medium, mediator, and modifier to filter, flavor, and fashion our information. Boundaries blur, consciousness becomes augmented, and architecture and the body act as symbiotic prosthetics not only for each other, but socially and ecologically. Here is a land where telepresence meshes with corporeality—where the digital is also sensorial. Automation and autonomy are no longer antonyms—and our sentience is allowed to flicker between the various realities to which it is tethered. Here, architecture serves as the suture between our digital and physical lives, creating a truly networked body from the scale of the global to the microbial. Buildings can no longer be the wire mothers of Harry F. Harlow’s psychological experiments on attachment. Rather than attempting to chill occupants into humanist superiority, architecture must become the cloth mother, which we posthumans nuzzle, in order to truly connect.
As a posthuman you recognize that your body can be architecture… and your architecture can be body.
Master of Architecture Thesis
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Caroline A. Jones, Brandon Clifford
Mark Jarzombek, Ariane Lourie Harrison