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ADS8: Data Matter

Tom Hunter

Tom is a Welsh architectural designer, currently based in London. Their practice focuses on challenging traditional perceptions of space and spatial practice through a variety of mediums and representational styles. Previous works have focussed on re-establishing the architecture of the public bathhouse within British society and critical-exploration of the design of pubs.

After graduating from the BA Architecture programme at Oxford Brookes University in 2019 Tom worked at the architecture and design publication Dezeen before gaining architectural design experience at BIG's London studio where he worked on large scale architectural design projects.

This project spawned from an initial investigation into the development of Digital Twin technologies and their use in urban and industrial environments. It was within the implementations of digital twins within the rural environment that a true criticality could be drawn as living beings, livestock are becoming digitally twinned.

Tender is the Flesh of the Cyborg Cow aims to question the digitisation of non-human agents. Can new tech-integrated systems of agriculture be reframed to propose a new form of contemporary livestock husbandry? One that does not facilitate the creation of the automated digitally-twinned hellscapes within which livestock are increasingly being confined. 

How could alternative forms of optimisation and data-usage affect the ways in which we purchase, value and consume meat products? And could future meat alternatives such as lab grown in-vitro meat completely redefine historic agricultural supply chains, products, practices and architectures?

Initially my research project centred around the human desire to create digital copies of real-world things and how this has led to the development of so-called Digital Twin technologies within global industry markets. These technology systems allow businesses and corporations to create digital copies of supply-chains and the architectures that contain them in order to improve efficiency, identify supply shortages and ultimately improve revenue.

It was within the meat and livestock industry that the research began to develop as existing technology systems have begun to create digital copies of real-word livestock, through sensor technologies the lives and bodies of animals are being digitised. Their data is stored in digital dossier, data types identify the presence of disease, fertility cycles and potential meat yields. This is a global effort by agribusinesses to quantify and control livestock. New typologies of agricultural architecture are born to facilitate new technologies and increasingly the farm is becoming interconnected with technology infrastructures such as datacentres.