essay @Technoetic Arts

The capsule as cyborg bioarchitecture


In 1969, Kisho Kurokawa stated the "capsule is cyborg architecture." The capsule is the ultimate form of the prefabricated building. As such it has emancipated itself from the land to become the immediate extension of the moving self, similar to cars or the Japanese kago, traditional people movers. In Japanese Metabolism, an architecture movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the capsule is a small, repeatable building unit rooted in historical elements, such as the teahouse and the kago. The capsule is also a tool – a machine for living – that is modular and part of a system offering simplicity and complexity. The capsule signifies individuality within a diverse society, standardization, functionality, technology, and smallness in scale. This essay re-examines the potential of the capsule in contemporary bioarchitecture, living systems, and evolving environments. Through Philip Galanter’s theory of “complexism,” the essay connects the capsule to modular(ity), embodiment, protective vulnerability, voyeurism, unpredictability, complexity, immateriality and ephemerality. I propose that the capsule instantiates a cyborg bioarchitecture.

Key words: bioarchitecture, architecture, art, biology, typology, complexity, capsule architecture, Japanese Metabolism, cyborg



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