Cristina Díaz Moreno, Efrén García Grinda, Tyen Masten, John Ng

In its search of what public space can be, Diploma 5 shifted this year’s focus from the work of social groups and subcultures to people’s actions, thus reincorporating what many contemporary agendas often forget: how individual behaviours and specifically public performances of conflict strengthen a group’s identity and enable the expression of a collective mind. The unit sought an alternative 

investigation related to action (as opposed to analysing abstraction and the distancing of functionalism and programming – already major themes related to this area of study) and operated within definitions of contemporary and technologically engaged rituals and their relationship with artificially constructed environments. Through ritualisation, the students looked for alternative ways in which space can be actively and publicly produced. As symbolic or idealised expressions that represent common beliefs and values, rituals are analogous to culturally produced texts that generate collective ideas and experiences. Public by nature, rituals are enactments – materialisations of a particular group ethos, a collective and idealised representation of a social construct. 


By defining space as a series of relationships between humans, nonhumans, natural species and technologies, the students worked as engineers of artificial paradises to imagine spaces such as informal negotiations environments for diplomats in Geneva; ritualistic transformations of trash to inscribe meaning in woven structures in Ahmedabad; culture-based reversed mining processes in South Africa; alcohol-induced boxing matches to reunify communities in permanent conflict in the Balkans; polemic and feminine chariots against male political immaturity in Korea’s DMZ; or clouds of hanging masts that accommodate dragon boat races for Guangzhou’s evicted residents. For Diploma 5 these events, festivals and rituals are not frozen narratives but real experiences and practices in constant evolution. Through these projects students defined public space as the place of conflict. As a changing relationship between many, it is comprised of consent and resistance, negotiation and violence, misunderstanding and appropriation. By invoking public dispute, it is a ritualised way of acting and negotiating space, power and authority, self and society. 


Unit Staff

Cristina Díaz Moreno

Efrén García Grinda

Tyen Masten

John Ng



Vicente Soler, VISOSE

Nerea Calvillo

José Quintanar + Ruohong Wu



Jonathan Allen

Pier Vittorio Aureli

Shany Barath

Brendon Carlin

Javier Castañón

Oliver Domeisen

Shin Egashira

Maria Shéhérazade Giudici

Evan Greenberg

Kostas Grigoriadis

Eugene Han

Tobias Klein

Sara Klomps

Theo Sarantoglou Lalis

Monia De Marchi

Valle Medina

Inigo Minns

Ricardo de Ostos

John Palmesino

Christopher Pierce

Ben Reynolds

Ann-Sofi Rönnskog

Natasha Sandmeier

Brett Steele

Charles Tashima

Carlos Villanueva Brandt

Mike Weinstock

Andrew Yau


Thanks to

Mike Weinstock

Pei-Yao Wu

Song Jie Lim


A pixelated glitch in the urban metropolis.
Godzilla is fan kingdom for the social recluses - otakus of Akihabara, Tokyo. A structure of aluminium and OLED vitrines, the mainframe feasts on individual obsessions and passions. Where manga sommelier meet vocaloid fanatics, techno whizzes meet hardcore gamers, physical manifestations of virtual collaboration are generated through a concentration of interests. This peer production belt constructs gradients of darkness through mass accumulation of fan-made artifacts. In the shadowscapes of display showcases and electroluminescence screens, a collective celebration of joint-creations is taking place. Deep within the belly of the monster, virtual pixels bleed into reality, Hatsune Miku dance alongside otakus cosplaying as samurais, robots, french maids, cat girls, goth-lollitas and pikachus; to the crowd-sourced tunes of voice synthesizers and mp3 experiments.