Impossible Architectures was an exhibition commissioned by the Cluster Festival of New Music and Integrated Arts, in Winnipeg Canada (March/April 2015). Following discussions with the artistic directors of the festival, this exhibition was curated to fit in with the festival's theme of "Interface".
If we consider architecture to be a mode of interfacing with a space, how does this change in relation to the digital, where real-world constraints no longer apply? What kinds of architectures can we imagine in the digital? How do we explore them? How does our presence within these spaces contribute to their operation? With these questions driving the underlying theme of the exhibition, I sought out works which would transform the ways in which we experience digital architectures.
Generally, digital architectural spaces are stable, following the logics of real world design. We explore and interact with them with the expectation that they will remain stable in our presence. Sometimes, glitches, bugs and other other such phenomenon highlight the fact that the stability of the digital, is in fact a fallacy, and it is subject to all manner of interruptions including bit rot and decay. Here I found the central premise of the exhibition... what if we built worlds where the primary aspect of their design was instability? What if the very presence of a player contributes to the dissolution, decay and break down of these spaces?
Each work within the exhibition represents an opportunity for gallery visitors to explore the inherent instabilities and glitches of digital architectures; not just to explore them, but to contribute to their decay. The strategies of the artists were quite different, some using patches and mods, others including data bent 3D models, some seeing the worlds dissolve wholly in the presence of a player.
Notendo + Membrane