In the field of computer science, SOURCE CODE refers to a set of instructions that demystifies how a specific computer program operates.
In his exhibition “Elements of Architecture” for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, despite the seemingly broad scope of his curatorial efforts, Rem Koolhaas chooses to exclude one of the most fundamental elements of contemporary spatial production: the digital. The methodological, social and perceptual potentials and problems of the digital has over the years become one of the primary concerns of architectural discourse. This intervention intends to reveal certain key moments in the evolution of digital discourse in architecture- i.e. the SOURCE CODE- which influence both the material and conceptual dynamics of contemporary architectural thinking and production.
SOURCE CODE features projects that had disciplinary impact before being built, if at all. They rather organized models that influenced physical as well as theoretical paradigms and technological discoveries by critical submersion into the digital. Through this analytical influence they breathe new life into “Fundamentals,” one that is much more credibly contemporary; operating across a spectrum of ideas through continuity and relevance, rather than ironic juxtaposition and radical de-contextualization. The projects are rooted in a discourse of commonalities and variations rather than differences and anomalies.
By downloading the free augmented reality (AR) application titled “Augment” (available in the IOS and Android app stores), participants view 3D models of selected projects by pointing their mobile devices at certain images found in the “Elements of Architecture” exhibition. A map accompanying SOURCE CODE serves as a guide; it identifies the locations of the images in the physical exhibition that function as “trackers” for the featured digital models. This project can be thought of as a new way of merging the digital and physical worlds in a curatorial context, embedding digital information in physical space, questioning the notions of control, intellectual agency and modes of communicating architectural information.