Joel Austin is a spatial practitioner and researcher from London. His independent projects explore experimental modes of practice that prioritize socio-technological agendas and have been selected for exhibition at Manifesta Biennale and Thessaloniki Design Week. His project Agriact tackles the emerging market of temporal agricultural labor in southern Europe and was published internationally. In 2020, he will join the architecture department at MIT as an SMarchS research candidate.
Weeding Data Space
As an ongoing investigation which unpacks the dehumanization conspiracy of growing data domination, this spatial research will leverage on the turmoiled case of Hong Kong, as a highly idiosyncratic context, to illustrate how the unheeded culmination of data centers has been silently engulfing urban space. Stemmed from an extensive thesis of typological analysis and speculative writing, the talk attempts to hypothesize on antagonistic potentials through the lens of performative theories, edge computing, and more. Especially in the age of pandemic in which our lifestyles are increasingly digitized, discussion on our incessant migration to the virtual realm and the emergence of city relics is unprecedented and timely. The presenters hope to raise awareness of this transformation of urbanism rapidly driven by burgeoning data consumption, and to invite imagination on alternative futures.