Intermediate Unit 3 - Burning Wastelands
Nannette Jackowski, Ricardo de Ostos

‘The way to get wonderfully lifelike behaviour is not to try to make a
really complex creature, but to make a wonderfully rich environment for a simple creature.’
– David Ackley

Moving away from mainstream energy infrastructures, this year Inter 3 explored various platforming technologies by looking at non-standard research typologies – specifically ad hoc laboratories and guerrilla compounds – partly through commentary, partly as a cultural snapshot. Focusing on Mumbai, capital of India’s Maharastra state and the largest city on its western coast, students reviewed India’s sacred and scientific suns in order to understand the processes involved in energy extraction, manufacturing, consumption and renewal.

Testing initial ideas, they used time-based prototypes in order to explore different iterations and performance – design, build, test, simulate and design again. Digital and analogue technologies were also explored in order to hack and tinker with a graveyard of daily objects, from electronic toys and musical instruments to outdated mobile phones and computers. From these experiments various ‘creatures’ emerged – behaviour-oriented designs that dreamed, danced and sang, forming strange ecologies of novel energy beings.

Among a whole series of resulting projects that articulated the ordinary, Alexey Marfin designed an interactive DIY building interfaced with mobile phones, located in Mumbai’s notorious thieves’ market, while Basmah Kaki reinterpreted sound and wind energy in the roughness of a quarry. Other projects explored stories of biological exuberance while life-and-death energy cycles were reassembled in fragile bacteria lagoons. Further proposals ranged from a challenge to the digital dreams of the augmented reality of internet-based religious rituals and a study of the sonic landscapes in gigantic Hindu shantytowns, to a narrative that explored Mumbai’s wastelands and its global energy hunters, gathered among the fires of e-wasted Microsoft hills and Intel mountains, unveiling a catalogue of stories of horror and hope.

‘Inhale. Take in as much air as you can.
This story should last about as long as
you can hold your breath and then just
a bit longer.’
– Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted