Ultimate Exit: the Architecture and Urbanism of Tech-Secessionism

Ultimate Exit: the Architecture and Urbanism of Tech-Secessionism Symposium at the Van Alen Institute, on December 11, 2014

Can the titans of tech engineer an escape from government oversight? Initiatives like Seasteading and talk of Silicon Valley’s “ultimate exit” are part of a growing tech-secessionist movement in which a variety of actors from venture capitalists and companies like Google to cloud-based communities of individuals are imagining city-state-like sites escaping state jurisdiction.

What might these enclaves look like? How do the architecture, urbanism, politics and psychology of exit intermingle? Ultimate Exit interviews the movement’s protagonists and critics and interprets these landscapes through a multimedia installation by architect Martti Kalliala and artist Daniel Keller.

Participants: architect Martti Kalliala; artist Andrea Crespo, Ed Keller, associate dean of distributed learning and technology at Parsons the New School for Design; philosopher, theorist Nick Land; and futurist and writer Geoff Manaugh.

Martti Kalliala: Ultimate Exit: the Architecture and Urbanism of Tech-Secessionism Symposium at the Van Alen Institute.

The executive director of the Van Alen Institute, David van der Leer, opening the Ultimate Exit symposium. Photo: Cameron Blaylock

Curator of the event, architect Martti Kalliala introducing the theme and the program of the Ultimate Exit symposium. Photo: Cameron Blaylock

The event was curated by Martti Kalliala and enabled by FCINY's MOBIUS fellowship program. 

During fall 2014 Martti Kalliala spent two months working at the independent architectural organization Van Alen Institute via FCINY's MOBIUS fellowship program. Kalliala curated the Ultimate Exit: the Architecture and Urbanism of Tech-Secessionism symposium, a series of live interviews exploring different aspects of tech-secessionism such as concept of seasteading. In addition, Kalliala produced a media art piece in collaboration with artist Daniel Keller.

The participants of the Ultimate Exit panel discussion were futurist and writer Geoff Manaugh, artist Andrea Crespo and Ed Keller, associate dean of distributed learning and technology at Parsons the New School for Design. Photo: Cameron Blaylock

Martti Kalliala and Jenna Sutela with PWR Studio, Disruption Begins at Home 1. Photo: Paavo Lehtonen

Martti Kalliala is an architect whose work focuses on the identification and conceptualization of emerging spatial conditions. Current themes in his work are the relationship between shifting modes of sovereignty and jurisdiction and built form and notions of progress, liquidity and technological disruption as drivers of the production of space – most notably the home, the workplace and the city itself.

Amongst a variety of projects, he recently curated the symposia series A Thousand Islands, an extended discussion on boundaries, limits, islands, enclaves/exclaves and states of exception as spatial protocols and produced in collaboration with artist/writer Jenna Sutela and PWR Studio Disruption Begins at Home – a speculative investigation into the ethos of homeownership under a financialized economy of debt. He is also the editor and co-author of Solution 239-246, Finland: The Welfare Game (Sternberg Press, 2011) and a contributor to the Airbnb Pavilion at 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Van Alen Institute, Elsewhere, 2014

Van Alen Institute

Since its founding in 1894, Van Alen Institute has promoted innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life. Today the Institute’s competitions, research, and public programs shape the public conversation and bring design excellence to the built environment of cities and sites around the world. Van Alen’s widely influential legacy of competitions includes Public Property: An Ideas Competition for Governors Island (1996), which kicked off an international conversation about Governors Island and its redevelopment as a public resource, and TKTS2K: A Competition to Design a New York Icon (1999), which led to the TKTS booth in Times Square and reactivated the public space at the busiest pedestrian intersection in New York City.



MOBIUS is a fellowship program for visual arts, museum and archive professionals based in New York, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Finland. The program enables transatlantic mobility and collaborative practices and supports long-lasting professional relationships.