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A Persistent Blindness: A Post-Curation National Museum

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posted on 27.09.2021, 23:33 by Mcknight, George

Since the industrial revolution, technology has had a defining role in society. From the built environment to domestic needs, technology has increasingly automated the world; the world has become immersed and increasingly in service to these advancements. However, in a world saturated in technology, the real-world still matters; a persistent blindnessto social, discriminatory and racial matters is still heavily ingrained and needs addressing.

This thesis is an investigation of the current machine age - a development of the First and Second Machine ages described by Banham, then Pawley, in the second half of last century. Today's 'Third Machine Age' is less mechanical - our machines are commercial, silent, and out-of-sight algorithms that use our own personal data as fuel: for the convenience of social media, we blindly provide our identities as grist to this mill.

But there are also opportunities for a socially-engaged architecture in this digitally saturated and persistently blind Third Machine Age. This research explores the idea of a national museum for the twenty-first century (with its Third Machine Age implications), offering an alternative to the singular, authoritative (colonial) interpretation of national identity and it’s curation in static ('iconic') built form. The objective is a nimble, critically-engaged, digitally augmented and ephemeral place-based intervention that foregrounds multiple and competing cultural and personal histories.

In an age where the idea of 'place' is being challenged by the architectures of 'non-place' and physical experience is increasingly supplanted by virtual engagement, it is difficult for architecture to remain relevant. This thesis is a provocative statement of one such way that architects can take a stand and make socially meaningful contributions to the Third Machine Age.


Advisor 1

Dudding, Michael

Copyright Date


Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture