Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lucid Dreaming Redux... Parallel Universes, Parallel Projects?

While I was reading up on Philip K Dick (on Wikipedia, I must admit), and on recollecting some of the themes of films that have been adapted from his work, it occurred to me that a recurring theme in his work are that of parallel universes and simulacra. These tend to become plot vehicles and/or set pieces for the antihero characters in his novels... say, the possibility of viewing "parallel scenario of the future" which allows prospective criminals to be apprehended before the crime is actually committed, in "Minority Report"; or multiple identities, and therefore multiple trajectories of life, courtesy of a mind-altering drug, in "A Scanner Darkly".

(On the same page, for a truly trippy experience, rent "Altered States" which starred a younger and more follicled Ed Harris.)

I couldn't help but notice that Sern Hong's "Pirated City" thesis project bore themes that reverberated with the above. The constant link-up of his projects between Los Angeles and Singapore - and even the mechanics of the execution of the projects (Jawn's and Sern Hong's collaborative "Verticity" being one of them) - is somewhat akin to drawing a line in an attempt to connect those parallel simulacra (in this case, the time-space trajectory in LA and that in Singapore, or visions of which). I might be pushing it here - and it's likely that Sern Hong drew from similar sources - but what we might be looking at is a treasure-trove of material that can be drawn from, and which are still being drawn from, three decades after Dick's seminal work. (No pun or innuendo intended at all.)

Pirated City

Bleak cities in various stages of dystopia, which in this day and age could just well be defined as those which pride digital media exchange over the power of physical architecture, as backdrops of Philip Dick's protagonists - "Bladerunner" being the best example, mirroring Los Angeles in dystopia) - could've also led to that thought...

Blade Runner

Reading that Dick drew upon Carl Jung's theories and hypotheses was something very enlightening (and slightly goosebump-raising) as well, as his "collective unconscious" theory was something substantially referenced in my M.Arch thesis. This may be a bit of a far reach, but the whole rhizome idea which premises the thesis project - whether biological or Deleuzian - bases itself on multiple entities which function independently, and are almost mutually exclusive save for their source. One could (in a state of lucidity, probably) allude this to parallel space-time universes which begin from the same event, or multiple personalities originating from the same person, each personality functioning and behaving differently and taking completely different trajectories.

The Deleuzian Rhizome (or its unfathered variant) in the flesh!

And as Hollywood draws upon these great works on existentialism and the multiple self from yesteryear, so too do architecture students in various states of delirium, and boy, isn't that a whole lot of fun. For if space and time keep going in an endless continuum, and if we think there are multiple "space-time" entities, then it would follow that there will always be parallel universes from which our imagination (and architecture ideas!) can be drawn.