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Justin Randolph Thompson
The Antenna of the Race is a media-based installation that centers on three conceptual foundations: engaging Marshall McCluhan’s theory on historic labor division as a primer for thriving in an ‘acoustic environment’, local Pennsylvanian history in the patenting of a device capable of the diffusion of public television and a critical deconstruction of authenticity and cultural appropriation. McCluhan’s examination of the simultaneity of the media assault sets the service culture as one of playing roles in contrast to specialization and literacy of a ruling class as pursuing goals, ultimately determining that the role players are more capable of thriving in a hyper saturated acoustic world given their forced adaptability. Drawing upon the utilitarian German architecture of early Kutztown and the class-envy represented by local Victorian architecture, a room within a room is created that simultaneously enhances the intimacy of the environment while fully immersing the viewer in an audio-visual experience that both mesmerizes and immobilizes. This community-oriented proposal engages the student body and local community in the creation of an archive that litters a range of television sets and speakers inset into the walls of the installation. The architecture of sound is elaborated through the creation of walls based on the forms of early speaker technology and the acoustic modulation of space.