Through the Singularity

Narrative Conjectures Beyond the Zero Hour
Christoph Eckrich
Bachelor of Architecture

Advised by:
Cruz Garcia
Jeremy Ficca
Mary-Lou Arscott
Matthew Huber
Nathalie Frankowski
Tracy Townsend

Studio coordinated by Heather Bizon and Sarah Rafson

Themes: Narrative | Culture | Ecology

View the full book here
Download the .pdf here
View Christoph’s other work here

This B.Arch Thesis project will entail a set of narratives depicted through text and image, aiming to speculate on future scenarios while staying firmly grounded in critical theory and commentary. The project is framed as a retrospective uncovering of ambiguous histories - allowing for speculation on different timelines and reciprocal relationships between issues. Using three existing institutions dealing with crucial issues of value, politics, and ecology the project proposes three alternate institutions which embody future instantiations along our current trajectory. Beginning with research towards contemporary philosophers / social theorists regarding our contemporary condition, a position against autonomy is taken – architecture does not, and cannot pretend to, operate in a vacuum. While engaging in a process of reciprocal writing and drawing I will develop quasi-fictional narratives as critiques of the current situation and speculations on the future.

The ‘products’ are authored by a fictional collective of artists, architects, theorists, historians, documentarians, and so on. Literal authorship on my behalf is removed for the sake of the overall narrative / world-building project and instills within the viewer a frame of mind with which to consider the following fictions.

This project is best experienced through the Plenaes Archive.

 Click here to enter. 

Or, Scroll to see a summary of presentation materials


The first collection is characterized by fear of the reconciliation of positive-value and debt-value currencies. The methods by which the capitalist machine is propped up are neo-keynesian inventions of circulatory quotas. The resultant effect on the built environment is one of constant change, building, rebuilding, recycling etc: An environment of totalitarian dynamism. Perhaps not so obviously, it can’t last.

The global networks of neoliberal debt economies are based upon a falsehood. Clear-sighted individuals and organizations have been trying to sound the alarm for years, but of course those that sought to benefit from the fundamental lie were the only ones who could rectify it on the scale that matters. We based our valuation systems upon an abstract concept of an immutable mobile – which, like all such things, is useful when combined with other inscription devices – but this one was so vague that we let its immutable nature slip away before our very eyes.

What we understand as money is no longer valorized, that is, it is no longer grounded in the value of labor – nor at this point any other concrete object. It has become a gambler’s fetish, a means of domination, an accounting error. The privilege of creating it has been handed to those individuals who already control the majority of the supply in the first place, and with a stroke of their metaphorical pen it appears out of thin air – and is transferred to our pockets. The problem with such a debt economy and fictitious capital is that it is parasitic of future valorization yet to come. The system is digging its own grave deeper and deeper, believing it to be a tunnel to untold riches on the other side of the earth, not knowing that at some point the gravitational pull will be so strong they can no longer escape.

What results from our misgivings is a society of frantic consumption. The obsession with economic progress, market stability, and GDP precludes engagement with other pressing issues and society becomes obsessed with the constant flow of value from one hand to the next. The neo-keynsian invention of the consumption quota has served to stem the imminent collapse of the capitalist world, but only digs us deeper into that and every other hole we find ourselves in. The life cycle of a building is just over three years on average. In order to keep up the building sector index, mandates on stock replacement are put in place. Individuals are forced to buy, sell, move, build, tear down, rebuild at absurd rates. The urban landscape is an ever-shifting mass of construction sites. But, the housing market has never been better.

The ICB regulates all global spending quotas, and sees that international finance streams are directed to where they need to go in order to maintain balance and stability. The realization comes as debt becomes indistinguishable from positive-value currency. It has always been circulated in similar ways, passed from one’s hands to another's, but eventually the value of debt surpasses that of its positive value birthright twin. As the amount of debt circulating surpasses that of currency, Individuals and corporations alike begin to prefer payment for services rendered in debt-value due to the self-replicating interest imbued in it at birth. As buying debt becomes more profitable than accruing capital – the system enters its era of collapse.

The anxiety/anticipation of the collapse paves the way for the gestation of multiple new systems of exchange, valuation, and organization – but it is a long road.

“If we are to undertake such a project as an archeology of capital and its relations, we must first consider where to begin. The decision of an origin point tells a story and makes a statement in and of itself.” - Morgan Kernes

“How I long for those days to be back, to forgo this constant sense of unfamiliarity; it distracts one so from the beauties of quotidian life! My solid foundation, the background to which I was so used to setting the motion and excitement of life, is gone. The damn quotas don’t allow for anything to stay up more than a year. I swear the skyline changes more than Sharon changes her outfits.”
- Imir Kesh

“Failing all else, you spend time thinking. Dreaming. Imagining. Creating better worlds, different truths, new realities, alternate timelines. You sit and think. For too long, but you can’t help yourself. Just relax, and continue dreaming…” - Inland Empire (author unknown)


The second is highly referential towards Bruno Latour’s concept of a Parliament of Things. In a post truth, no, post politics society - how do we begin to rebuild that truth, and create a system of organization which has the capability of leading us away from disaster rather than into it. Advances in technology make possible the visualization of the myriad networks and entanglements which are themselves a system of engendering requisites. The co-dependencies now visible, such a parliament is erected to encounter and advocate on behalf of all things - human, animal, plant, object, hyperobject, etc.

The slow deterioration of rational truth has many causes. Truth does not exist in a vacuum, as an abstract concept it holds no meaning – facts remain robust only when they are supported by a common culture, by institutions that can be trusted, by a more or less decent public life. The consistent betrayal of the populous by those in power who have long since given up the idea of pursuing a modernizing planet for all (because they knew early on such a thing was impossible) has had an immeasurably detrimental effect on people's ability to trust, it has largely been abandoned by the wayside.

We have long feared the descent into post-truth politics, but what we find ourselves in now is far worse. It is in fact a system of governance that is post-politics, it is literally a politics with no object since it rejects the world it claims to inhabit. Whether this is the ultimate pinnacle of neoliberalism or the gradual revelation that neither the global nor the local has any lasting material existence, the affects are largely the same. Our politics has been emptied of its substance, it is not engaged with anything at all, has no meaning or direction, and is powerless as well as senseless.

Many people have justified this system only in contrast with what appeared to be the sole alternative. An autocratic free-market-esque state which claims to be for the people, but is simply the same neoliberal ideology wrapped up so tightly that the struggle for power is non-existent and any politics at all is irrelevant. The party is a machination for maintaining power and establishing dominance, and nothing more.

What is left to move forward is a complete restructuring of the way we interact with our world, our fellow terrestrials, our truths. A system that accepts hybrids, cyborgs, complexities, and networks in favor of the modern functionalities of mediation and purification.

The switch from a system of production to a system of engendering leads to the inevitable establishment of a Parliament of Things. What we see in this story are stabs being taken at such an institution.

“This territory is our canvas, and the Union is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see unlimited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made.” - Dev Sol

“What is so peculiar about this Truth Index polling Lea, is that we aren’t seeing a major shift to the positions of the opposition either - it seems that what we are witnessing is a complete destabilization of public trust. No political party possesses the requisite shares in the index to assert factual dominance, so for the first time since the establishment of the index we may be entering an era with no reliable Truth.” - Alex Gress

“What we settled upon was an informed but refined form, almost platonic in nature, which we feel embodies the Parliamentary ideals of equality while evoking an appropriate response of respect and reverence in conjunction with its surroundings. Inspired by great conceptual artists and architects like Leonidov, Boullée, and Sloterdijk this spherical formal language draws upon long standing aesthetic and philosophical discourses which embed immense meaning within such a simple object.” - OTA

“I think you said it yourself, you just don’t quite realise it yet. Sure, yes, things that don’t have agency can be omitted. But can you think of anything that doesn’t?” - Tilly Schneider


The third collection deals with the oppressive issue of climate and ecology. It is predicated upon the assumption that it becomes the primary concern of our generation, our species. It’s weight has crushed all other forms of social delineation, class, race, culture, nationality - all matter little now. Rather, societal seperations can only be drawn up by utilising the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance - each a valid response to the crisis. All groups have their own territories, their own way of life, their own histories and interpretations.

A forlorn and lethargic depression, executive dysfunction in the face of catastrophe, confusion with no guiding light or principles to orient the arrow of progress; these are all ways in which we could characterize the past generation. The New Climatic Regime takes its toll on the planet as much as it does on our collective psyche. It is as if we discovered that free will has always been a lie. That our actions are meaningless. That the future is immutable, deterministic, and above all – cruel. We have reached the point where it is simply too late to alter course, and reconciling with that fact is the primary problem of our age.

Our political and social divisions forgotten, the only categories that now matter are the stages of grief.

Denialists have held the same mentality since before the New Climatic Regime was even a reality. Simple disbelief and mistrust can go a long way. Fueled in no small part by the post-truth nature of contemporary politics, why not stay in ignorant bliss when the alternatives are even more unappealing.

Acrimonists rage with a white-hot fury. Some blame themselves for not realizing earlier, but most blame those in power, the media, the system, the scientists, the corporations, and so on, for not doing enough or convincing them to do theirs. This anger often manifests as a violent anarchy, looting and destroying the institutions which they feel betrayed them – consciously or not.

The Resistance are, as the name implies, still holding out hope and fighting for a – if not indefinite, at least longer – future. They are perhaps operating within a chaotic system, that spins and whirls indefinitely, but in the end is exactly as deterministic as an attractive system which coalesces at zero. Their actions, as assessed by most experts, are futile. But who can blame them for trying, and who can say for sure if that is true? At the very least, it feels to be a better option than the following stage.

Depression as a stage/category does not warrant a consideration in the playing field, although they deserve far more than a footnote in our story. In response to the theft of their future they have simply lost hope, and who can blame them. A new neurological disease (if one can call it that) is running as rampant as any infectious disease of the 21st century. Faced with the meaninglessness of any choice, they refuse to make any choice at all, resulting in a kind of akinetic mutism which expresses itself in a complete lack of motivation. Many stop functioning all together, opening their eyes to watch is about all they can muster.

Those that have accepted our situation have somewhat idiosyncratically called themselves Contemporaries. They understand the mistakes that have been made, and also that it is beyond them – or indeed our – power to alter them. Make the most of it, I guess.

“They resolved to enter this garden, and leave their futures to fate. Should their bond be strong enough, they will choose the correct paths and end up in the shared center. It is said they still walk in this garden of forking paths, seeking a reunion. No one knows if they found each other or not. It is perhaps for you, dear reader, to decide.” - Homa’s Tale (author unknown)

”...A headquarters, an icon, a gathering point, a message. The Reclamation Group will complete the remaining 128,462. Let us usher in a new era, together, with all terrestrials as one.” - Gail Marcos

“I guess what that means is the message just hasn’t reached enough people yet. I bet that’s how Shang would have wanted to be remembered; not by talking about him, or even his stories, but by spreading those truths he believed to his core to as many people as possible. What do you think?” - Saliah Gürsoy

Please explore the desk at your leisure. Click images to enlarge, drag to reposition.