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Hack Circus

Part 2 Project 2014
André Sampaio Kong
Royal College of Art London UK
The Hack Circus is a post-tragic critique of current technologies, which are masking real climate change under the guise of a seamless, virtually augmented, continuum of trivial delights. Reacting to a digitally ‘media-ted’ surveillance society, Hack Circus proposes a radical, social-libertarian, self-sustainable community, leveraging itself off existing hardware, hacking ‘alternatives,’ unlocking their full potential and going beyond the narrow limitations of ecological design towards a wider ecological ontology.

Mashing the subversive model of Burning Man festival and the formative role of Hackspaces, together with the belief that escape is only possible through an offensive system reset, the ‘Ad-hackers’ (a group of tinkerers who redefine the possibilities of existing technology), leave London for the water. Here the first crowd-funded Hackfest (the annual hackathon event) is hosted in its germinal amphitheatre and from it THE CIRCUS IS BORN. As the alienated community grows and floats down the Thames, ties with power structures, ideology and the obsolete value system of the city are gradually severed until it sets itself free, beyond territorial waters and, in an act of ‘sousveillance,’ taps into a submarine Internet cable in the North Sea.

The Hack Circus is potentially the first node in a wider global network of linked hacker-maker communities. Set within a dialogue of bottom-up and top-down design, the architecture of the Circus is ‘hackable’, adaptive and augmentable; it is receptive, open-source, and resilient.

The project’s narrative is presented with drawings and models of the architectural proposition for a floating community alongside parallel experiments hacking existing digital technologies. Together they explore the themes of acceleration, alienation and empathy between nature, people, objects, architecture, and technology in a continuous ecosystem.

The Circus is in effect a manifestation of several of my interests as a practitioner and first hand experience within a community. It emerges at the intersection of architecture, digital culture, socio-political engagement, and concerns over our changing climate. I believe hacker-makers will radically alter the future of our industry and in turn provoke a major social and economic paradigm shift.

André Sampaio Kong

Tutor(s)


2014
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