RealSpace in QuickTimes
Realspace in Quicktimes, a 1996 project comprising a book, an exhibition, a website and a few pilot projects, shows how digitization was always destined to have far-reaching consequences for culture and architecture. Three angles were distinguished: changes in the design process (computer aided design) resulting in a new built reality based on digital catalogues; the emergence, and later ubiquity of a technology that manages and regulates the environment (smart buildings, smart environments) in such a way as to alter both perception and experience; and the parallel universe of virtual reality which creates new images for architecture and space within its own imaginary domain. The project investigated how the dream to be anywhere at any time by any means, would dismantle the very statute of architecture, and would beget its own undesired consequences.
realspace in quicktimes
The thing about paradigm shifts is that they can only be identified as such in retrospect. Only when the storm has died down is it possible to say whether the introduction of new technologies, changes in the conditions under which people work and the readjustment of existing ways of thinking, has led to a genuine change in the prevailing world view. So whether the digitization of architecture will in fact lead to new views as to what constitutes architecture, remains to be seen.
At the same time, the introduction of digital design technologies, the manipulation of experience by architecture-integrated (micro)electronics integrated in the architecture and the simulation of spatial experiences in virtual reality installations, are attended already by the unabashed celebration of a cultural revolution of unprecedented magnitude that is set to take place ‘in the near future’. Going about our day-to-day lives we would still be recognized by our classical forefathers, but in our heads we have long been living in Cyberia.
Bearing all this in mind, it is possible to discern two trends in the reactions to the multimedia revolution. On the one hand the aprés moi le deluge attitude; on the other hand, the bonfire of the cybernauts. Is there any alternative?