In this second year of a three-year programme, Diploma 5 has focused on the notion of the public, basing our exploration on the logic of subcultures and social groups.
The term Third Nature originally coined by the Italian historian Jacopo Bonfadio to refer to a new reality halfway between existing categories has enabled us to refocus architecture in the field of interaction between things, helping to redefine our links with technological objects, with the social realm and nature. Shifting from the notion of a physical or temporal context to a cultural one, the work attempts to reconnect the production of space with one forgotten material in architecture – people. This places the focus of architecture on social constructions and manifestations that happen outside of the mainstream production and consumption chain. The infinite variety of forms of life, cultural codes and material worlds associated with subcultures can potentially be a model for an architecture based on the cultural capital and identity that reflects, criticises and proposes an alternative to existing spatial models. This new kind of architecture is centred on the complex politics of the popular and the public domain, creating strong links to contemporary culture.
Contemporary subcultures constitute a record and critique of our society, attempting to build an alternative to the codes, customs and dominant material worlds. These subcultures, fragile, rich, exuberant and lush, provided a superb resource that we mined in order to place a mirror in front of our culture that magnifies and deforms its monstrosity.
This year the projects focused on the definition of a space for the public, constructing bizarre assemblies (Third Natures) by meeting and interacting with members of numerous communities of different origins. Sites for exploration are were selected from around the world, from Ladyboys in Thailand, Shinjuku Boys in Japan, Feeders, Pro-Ana and artificial mountains for avatars in California, to a Russian Ministry of Pleasure, an Ice Parliament in Iceland and self-constructed monuments for the Tokyo Homeless.