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interrogating stone

Excerpt from a thesis project submitted to the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster, London

MA Architecture (Digital Media) 2021/22 (Distinction)

An experiment centred around the concept of stone being a symbol of national identity, questioning the role of material extracted in a culture’s identity by targeting instances at which a material or form stops being identifiable. Through the use of machine learning, a system was designed to operate through a process of disruption/displacement of a material, and with an iterative process of manipulation, the system ‘interrogates’ the material, as it tries to identify the national traits in it to classify it as belonging to a culture’s identity.

A series of photographs of different kinds of Maltese stone in different states was ‘fed’ to Google’s Teachable Machine. Photos of built environments which were not in Malta, as well as photographs of different materials were also included in the non-Maltese class.