Date of Award
Master of Architecture (MArch)
Tokyo exists in an urban Feedback Loop, a concept that takes from theories of post-urbanism and cybernetics. Essentially, there is a loop between the physical city and the image or representations of the city. Both versions of the city are accepted as valid, but by analyzing the image versions as heterotopias, there is a view into the social constructs and conceptions of the city. East Asian cities are especially impacted because of techno-orientalist tendencies of the West. Tokyo, being one of the most well-documented and temporal, has been imagined and reimagined as simultaneously high-tech and mysteriously ancient. This is most visible in works of cyberpunk and science fiction, but examples are found in most genres. In these narrative modes of representation, it has served as a backdrop and well for inspiration for Western creators aiming for familiar yet exotic vibes.
The image of Tokyo is replicated in this thesis project. Existing images, landmarks, and motifs are referenced in the production of a self-aware fictional world to represent an extreme digital future. The viewer is forced to reconcile the awe and consumption of media with the reality that common tropes are based on and impact real communities. It asks: How will visualizing the image of Tokyo through replication of narrative representation tropes break that same image? What role will that breaking play in realizing the future of Tokyo and of Asian Americans?
Youkoso Tokyo has three main components: the Website experience, the Guidebook, and the Sales Pitch. The project within the project is a web-based tourism company, TOR, that is building a universe of cyborg cities for users to visit. The visitors receive the Guidebook (thesis book) to help navigate the world. The world is a website broken into three districts (web pages): Towers, Transit, and Nightlife. As a final performance, the Sales Pitch treats Youkoso Tokyo, or Tokyo Loop, as a first prototype to be presented to a board of investors (the architectural jury). The three hyper-objects work to intensify common tropes and spatial cues to a point of absurdity in order to have a conversation around implicit racism in architecture and media.
Ehgotz, Evelyn, "Youkoso Tokyo : Guidebook to a new cybercity" (2022). Masters Theses. 867.
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