A Brave-New-Digital-World: Part One

Having heard of the recent listeria outbreak I was triggered by the memory of my family devouring a whole rock melon just days earlier – how could something so delicious be so potentially deadly?  Like most facing the strange predicament of death by fruit, I needed answers- definitive ones. So, I did what any typical centennial does in crisis, I picked up my iphone and turned to Google, asking, “symptoms of Listeria?[1] While waiting for my fate to appear before me my screen was suddenly illuminated by recent search history, dutifully reminding me of my last existential crisis.

It read:

“What careers can architecture graduates get” and below, “how much does an architecture graduate earn”.  Turns our listeria can have an incubation period of up to 6 weeks, I still had time to deal with my mortality. I needed a distraction, ahhh Instagram, what would I do without you? Voyeuristic relief at my fingertips.

Ashamedly, I have to admit I didn’t even have an Instagram profile until I took a gap year, where I decided architecture school had made me a little… “vanilla”. What I needed was red-hot reinvention, so I launched Instagram, made art, exhibited art, sold art, grew a humble and supportive following and found an audience that was interested and just as importantly interesting.

I discovered I’d missed out on a lot cooped up in those white walled studios.

People were connecting in a meaningful way that breached race, socio-economic background, geography, gender, and education![2]



I had found solace in creative allies, but I wandered what the architecture world was getting up to in this digital pond. Enter, Bjark Ingles, Zaha, David Adjaye, Nendo, the list goes on. Observing their awkwardness (seen below) in navigating a brave-new-digital-world, I wandered if it was at all possible to be academic, relatable, palatable, nonchalant and relevant at the same time? How could I fit all these influences into one neatly and digestible curated representation of myself and my creative output to ensure a broad range of opportunities for my future self in the profession?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about selling out here. I hate the idea of throwing away academic and ideological integrity for internet notoriety, especially having spent $20,000 plus earning my right to be classed amongst academia. But when cultural commentators like Forbes and the Independent are pointing to a crisis in our profession, it’s our role as critical thinkers to turn the lens on ourselves[3] As digital technology continues to enter the workforce the demand for young professional skilled in digital software is undoubtedly high.But like many graduates the idea of a decades long “cad monkey” salary doesn’t excite me. [4]

In true white-collar fashion Architecture tends to sticks its nose up to the idea of mass appeal. But by entering wider discourse architecture, architects and designers can generate greater social potency in a way that maintains our intellectual integrity and at the same time ensures we have a greater stake in contemporary culture.










[1] Wallop.H. “Gen Z, Gen Y, baby boomers – a guide to the generations.” Telegraph.co.uk.31 july, 2014. Accessed March 06, 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11002767/Gen-Z-Gen-Y-baby-boomers-a-guide-to-the-generations.html  

[2] Sarah Granger, The Digital Mystique: how the culture of connectivity can empower your life (Hachette, England: , 2014), 65.

[3] Shubow.J. “Architecture continues to implode: More insiders admit the profession is failing “www.forbes.com .JAN 6, 2015. Accessed March 05, 2018.https://www.forbes.com/sites/justinshubow/2015/01/06/architecture-continues-to-implode-more-insiders-admit-the-profession-is-failing/#7b03dbe34378 

[4]  “The Death of Architecture “www.independant.com.uk .APRIL 3, 2011. Accessed March 05, 2018.  https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/architecture/the-death-of-architecture-2261212.html 


[1] Tsyon Feleke, Diaspora Dreaming series, 2017, digital collage, accessed March 15, 2018 https://www.instagram.com/p/BRxbf_cF-MY/?taken-by=tsyon.feleke

[2+3] Bjark Ingles, Instagram post, 2018, accessed March 15, 2018, https://www.instagram.com/p/BgMPKesnmDT/?taken-by=bjarkeingels

[4] David Adjaye, Instagram post 2017, accessed March 15, 2018, https://www.instagram.com/p/BDI1cHKHFj1/?taken-by=adjaye_visual_sketchbook

















Tsyon Feleke

Find more of the author at: theslog.co

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