Hmm, this is something of a hum-dinger, so to speak. Explain how the built environment affects the kind of person I am. I like to think of myself as rather unique I suppose, a product of my own values and definitions rather than my surroundings. But I suppose it's logical to posit that the artificial systems around me must hold some influence. The most obvious example that comes to mind is the medium through which I am now talking. Though not precisely architectural, the computer is a veritable cornucopia of systemic intricacy. Through the relatively simple concepts of Fourier transfers via semi-conducting circuits and magnetic alignment on a hard disk, we can produce a language of zeros and ones generated at dizzying rates, which are then interpolated into sights and sounds. It could be said that this is a constructed phenomenon, using simple natural forces of electromagnetism to not only entertain, but bridge the gap between physical divides.
-Self Portrait (digital media) 2006
An interesting example of the intrinsic and fascinating complexity of computers and electronics is the 1980 Disney classic, TRON, as well as the sequel game, TRON 2.0. In TRON, a computer is depicted as containing an entire world, a microcosm if you will, of life and spectacle. Everything in this digital realm is analogous to something in the real world. This reality is populated by programs rather than people, who go about their lives attempting to avoid deletion by fulfilling the tasks they were programmed for. They sustain themselves on flowing rivulets of electricity, which streams out of a power source. The landscape is defined by file partitions and hard-disk formatting. Network hubs are teeming metropoli filled with exotic code from every computer system in the world. Antiquated systems are the crumbling ruins, their faulty and outdated hardware unable to support the slick, modern programs. And all is conducted under the watchful eye of the Kernel (a clever word play), who monitors the security of the network and enforces swift deletion against trojans, worms, and spywares.
TRON 2.0, Buena Vista Games 2003
Now, I'm fairly certain there aren't characters living inside my computer, but the point I'm trying to make is that humans have created an artifice, a simulacrum of natural systems which we can control. However, it would seems that in the modern day our computers control us to a degree as well. Personally, I feel as though have been greatly influenced by the possibilities brought up with computers. Since 1994, I've annually built my own computer, at first with help of my father, and then on my own. In this sense, a built object helped to define my relationship with my dad to a certain degree. Furthermore, the games I've been playing since I could hold the controller shaped many of my aesthetic preferences, acting as a sort of wellspring for interesting concepts I may have otherwise not been exposed to. And of course the Internet, that bastion of human effort and knowledge, both noble and otherwise. I shudder sometimes thinking of the amount of time I've wasted on sites like Collegehumor or Facebook. But on the same token, I think again of all the things I've learned online, that I very likely wouldn't have learned elsewhere. Basically, the built system of computers has been a big part of my life and the lives of many people, and will most likely continue to play an ever increasing one into the future.