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Portable Us

Journey Anywhere Nowhere Everywhere

Final Undergraduate Project

Oct 2018 — Jul 2019

Time and space are perpetual architectural themes, which are closely related to change and movement. Change influences the built environment with its requirements for everyday life. The combination of time and space is regarded as an arbitrary mean of measurement for movement. Accordingly, if the only constant in life is change, is movement all we own and experience?

The contemporary era is characterised by intense balance of power, which produces unprecedented conditions of connection and disconnection. Flows of data, people and products made possible by the global Internet network have led to a society in constant travel between a tangible physical world to a digital virtual world. Consequently, a frequent movement is occurring from one type of space to the other, blurring boundaries by the act of connection and disconnection. This defines new implications concerning belonging, place and identity.

Common reality is now submerged by the sharing and spreading of digital information and visual content through global networks, which create relatively abstract virtual environments and communities, such as social media, e-commerce, high-speed frequent transportation and mobile apps. Grasping reality is now only possible through the endless use of representational mediums, which have essentially outbalanced reality’s status leading to a society, which has lost its ability to distinguish reality from its simulacrum. This egalitarian condition allows for a new observation: the ‘post-truth era’.

In analogy with digital movement, jet travel has already surpassed geographic boundaries and revolutionized our sense of time and distance. The airplane machine connects and disconnects from diverse airport terminals, loads and unloads communities of passengers, luggage and cargo. While passengers stay in state of standstill, the fuselage containing them undergoes huge changes of movement, resembling the paradoxical properties of ‘digital traveling’.

Regardless of whether physical space contains digital space, or the opposite, it has become an architecture nested within architecture. Perhaps, time has come to face the integration of digital and physical to seek an evenly dynamic equilibrium between both, as they mutually occupy the same time and space in people’s lives.

The Contemporary

Jet Journey

On 16 Dec 2018, we departed on the first journey from Tel Aviv’s International Airport to objectively and subjectively research how forces that produce movement affect a traveling duo and their bodies, their belongings, their needs and their identity, while striving to be as “dynamic” as possible during one single week. The rules were clear: trying to pass through a maximum of airports, while spending as least as possible with a minimum of travel belongings. Aside of a travel diary written during that same week, our own bodies were the main anthropologic mean of documentation, as we physically experienced the journey. Moreover, Instagram was heavily utilised as a tool where we repetitively interacted with other users who could influence our itinerary. This owing to the fact that social media today is considered analogue of the aviation world allowing new flows of networks between nodes.

The Contemporary

Jet Journey

Considered as a simulacrum of the first journey, the second journey initiated on 29 May 2019 and lasted five days. Based on two possible itineraries, the journey only took place inside our Instagram’s story feature. It strives to point at a new contemporary genre of mobility; one that is based on the physical representation of the identity of the traveller metamorphosed into Instagram usernames. The journey was broadcasted in real-life time and faithful to the present day environment. Other Instagram users could enjoy watching our adventures, hopping from one airport to the other, while we physically were staying in stage of standstill in our Tel Aviv apartment. Since the production of visual content has never been easier and more accessible, retrieving and making use of the endless information and digital imagery of the Internet has become quotidian. It provided us with a primary commodity for our journey’s content. Moreover, our architectural skills were applied to create rendered animations of possible and impossible scenarios and implanted into our Instagram stories. 

The Contemporary

Jet Journey

The third journey departed on 15 Jul until 5 Aug 2019. Unlike its precedents, this journey was materialised in a truly scaled physical model of a section of an ‘Airbus 320’ aircraft. A formerly created digital model has made the realisation of this tangible and hand-cut model possible. Thus, the aircraft replica was observed as a physical render of its digital model. Moreover, seen as an architectural space downloaded and uploaded within an existing architecture at the Bezalel Architecture Department, we wondered what specific human behaviour this experimental model would trigger.

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