Atomic Autographs

This paper presents a speculative reading of the visuality of point clouds achieved through ‘Light Detection and Ranging’ (LiDAR), under the metaphysical light of the shadow cast by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The cataclysmic event of the atomic bomb is conceptualised in the context as a photographic event. One that explicitly documents the destruction of its object — producing at once the optics of an unthinkable space and an archive of annihilation. A similar visual structure is then observed in the three dimensional point clouds, gathered through LiDAR. Which comes disturbingly close to the suspension of time during a catastrophic event, by LiDAR’s capacity to freeze the sublimation of solid matter into a constellation of measured particulates. As it atomises the world around it through pulsing and returning photons, similar to the radiating light of the atomic bomb. Whilst influencing the image of architecture, by vaporising from concepts of archives and memory into clouds of point. The point-cloud allows architectural representation to rethink and inhabit the unthinkable and fathomless space, one that is neither surface nor depth. As it opens onto a rather topologically bizarre space, for the reference of understanding the cataclysmic event from the point of view of the catastrophe.



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