digital mimicry in the villa of mysteries

Architectural Masters thesis
Royal College of Art, studio ADS4 led by Tom Greenall, Matteo Mastrandrea &  Nicola Koller

                “Digital Mimicry in the Villa of Mysteries” is an archaeological investigation into the ways images and their meaning change rapidly through our digital image culture. We are so consumed by the images around us, and what we see drives our beliefs, architecture and identities. Using the definitions by Homi Bhabha on mimicry, and the history of images by Baudrillard in his writing Simulacra Simulation, I will investigate the mimicry and deception of images that occurs through countless iteration. Focusing on AI and contemporary theories of female digital identity, the work aims to understand how we identify ourselves through online counterparts, and the impact this can have on our architectural environments. Looking at the excavation of Pompeiian sites, the project reflects how contemporary mishaps in digital language could provide new narratives for our past. I will investigate contemporary theories of female digital identity to understand how we identify ourselves through online counterparts, and what images we use to define us. I will compare problematic resolutions of AI and online images in defining women and the identity of cyborg feminism.
                Looking at the ancient site of the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii, I aim to investigate the unresolved story behind the wall murals in room 5 of the villa, and look for a new way to describe the painted female figures on these walls through the contemporary digital lens. As the Villa of Mysteries artwork will be lost in the traces of time, people will venture to explore the narrative and stories behind the painting. The missing links, discrepencies, and ‘glitches’ in the narrative spring a bigger life and intrigue to the work moreso than the resolute truth. By using digital tools to investigate the ancient site of the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii, Italy, the project investigates the language of the body and the transformation of identity of the mysterious painted women depicted on the walls of the room.
               This adaptive visual mimicry constructs new and complicated identities as the context of the image is removed further from its origin. These images will each reveal points of conflict for feminist language as well, including how the binary contextualization of the female body and identity has been so overtly exhausted, and why critical manifestos like the Cyborg Manifesto and Glitch Feminism were created in the 21st century to provide a new defining of our digital identities.