Architectural League Folly/Function 2019 Competition Entry

Big Ig is short for Big Igneous. It’s a ten foot tall igneous rock. Actually, it’s a fake rock. Not that it’s not real—it’s definitely real—it’s just not a real rock. It’s a representation of a rock. That’s often what we’re dealing with these days. Mediated things. This is like that, only it’s real. Its markings are manual registrations made to help bring a real rock—the chunk of granite from which Big Ig was generated—into the computer via a 3D laser scanner. Without those marks, the scanner has a hard time differentiating between intricate but uniformly colored surfaces. 

Once it’s scanned, it exists as a richly textured, complex, three-dimensional digital object in the space of the computer. At this point, the registration marks become barely visible—existing only in shallow relief—and can be patched to create a seamless surface. But Big Ig stands in protest against the digital trend toward idealization via dissimulation. It retains its registrations in tribute to the process that facilitated its creation. In other words, Big Ig is a digital rock made real, with traces of the digital that typically don’t manifest in the physical. Ig’s manual marks signal to the viewer that, while Big Ig has all of the traits one would expect of a huge rock, it’s something else entirely.