PLACE-HOLDER: Copies in an Age of Network Culture

Issue 3, Copies in an Age of Network Culture” is interested in the possibilities in how network culture, an organism with an ever increasing speed, has physically changed architecture—an industry notoriously known for its extreme slowness. Today, the network not only connects the world, it reconfigures both culture and subjectivity by transforming the way we produce and share ideas. The 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins defines a meme as a set of cultural data that acts like a genome—replicating, spreading, and mutating in response to the selective demands of the culture in which they develop. Yet, information when imitated is subject to variation, and no copy is in fact the same.

But ultimately, what does it mean to copy in the age of the internet, where almost everything is collected, archived, shared, and circulated online. Hito Steyerl compares the 20th century Soviet Avant Garde’s productivism—the claim that art should enter production and the factory—to circulationism. “Circulationism is not about the art of making an image, but about post-producing, launching, and accelerating.” Copies is aware of circulationism. A rising tendency to circulate post-produced images as soon as they’re exported in JPEGs, GIFs, and MOVs, in a race to claim authorship towards the ‘original’ and/or the ‘productive.’

Moreover, will network culture re-craft or diminish the public domain? How does the act of copying usurp notions of architecture’s autonomy? Does the difference between unconscious and conscious influence matter? What types of subjec-tivity are engaged in the act of aggregating images?
In an image saturated culture, what is the role of copying? How does our current embrace of data-driven architecture call this culture of copying into question? What does data look like? How does copying undermine the status of the original? Does temporality still matter? Is copying illegal? Embarrassing?

These are the types of questions we sought to explore throughout the issue, and when seeking answers we became painfully aware of the current timeliness of the theme (or now, therefore lack of): Collecting as architecture; ‘Post-Modern’ (re)conferences; Book of Copies, Domain, Post-Internet[...]. PLACE-HOLDER has shown interest, slowly researching this topic for a couple of years and find it fascinating, glancing back, that this “zeitgeist” already feels exhausted. What does this say about our profession?

Contributors (in order of appearance): Andrew Kovacs, Sam Jacob*, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, Office of Adrian Phiffer, Nicholas Korody, Noah McGillivray, Patrick Pregesbauer, Small Monumental, Nancy Webb, Jimenez Lai*, Matthew Allen & Sasha Bears, Daniel Tudor Munteanu, Maarten Lambrechts, Elliot Sturtevant, Salome Nikuradze & Zoé Renaud, Patricia Patkau*, Luca Silenzi, Ines Weizman, Parker Kay, Max Yuristy, Clement Vala

Date: 2015-2016
Editors: Michael Abel & Mina Hanna

© 2020 Mina Hanna - Toronto, Canada