In the Spirit of Shibui | Re-Animating the Ruins of Fukushima

Humanity and machines share a visceral bond that is both simultaneously simple and complex. Machines as a reflection of techne reveal more than their intended purpose implies.1 Machines embody all hopes of what humanity has produced and supersede the life humanity dreams for itself.

This thesis aims to not only discuss the interconnection between machines and society today but to go even further and question the perception that utopia can be attained through a ceaseless journey towards technological totalitarianism.2

Heidegger suggests that the purpose of technology is to make humanity think through the unfamiliar and yet one could argue that complications arise within modern societies relationship with technology.3 Humanities ingenuity has wavered and production now focuses less on machineries ability to reveal the wonderful but instead on it’s ability to assert dominance over nature. Humankind’s existence has been inhabited, dictated, and controlled by machines for all of recorded history and yet this type of mechanical control is rarely criticized. Society has such over-dependence on technology that even the simplest mechanical instrument, the clock, took what was once naturalized chaos and placed it at the mercy of man.

Using the decontamination process currently undergoing in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, this thesis will discuss the neutrality of the machine and the unique role architects have to reciprocate technologies’ ability to be both unwavering and submissive when operated with or without restriction. It will question the role of machines in society, suggesting that if machines are operated under careful observation with the goal of avoiding the disruption of natural order the omnipotent qualities of technology can be controlled. Finally, this thesis commits the architect to reveal the poetics of machinery and to unpack the machines potential to carryout both utopia and dystopia.

Please see attached videos:

1 Heidegger, Martin, The question concerning technology, and other essays (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), 12.
2 Lewis Mumford, “The City and the Machine”, in Utopias and Utopian Thought, ed. Frank Edward Manuel (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966), 22
3 Heidegger, Martin, The question concerning technology, and other essays (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), 27.