AI-generated mixed-media illustration
Victor Zagabe AI-generated mixed-media illustration

Polyphony is achieved through combining many sounds, simultaneously. In plurality and simultaneity, complex harmony and richness emerge. The “Poly Particles” dispersed throughout the physical magazine are excerpts from the polyphony of Dark Matter U’s collective voice in conversation. These were drawn from a playfully structured set of conversations that unfolded at the inaugural in-person DMU retreat in Washington, D.C., in May 2023.

As a critical component of this issue of ARCHITECT, the polyphony excerpts capture the multiplicity of the DMU network’s voice in conversation. The excerpts, dispersed throughout the entire physical magazine, harmonize with the featured work to compliment and highlight attributes of the work that are present both in their respective pages, and the informal conversations found in the particles.

To create the “poly particles,” participants of the DMU network were asked to record five minute conversations with one another on the following topics: Who is DMU?; How has DMU affected your work/world?; What impact do you think DMU can have in… [fill in the blank]?; How do you show up to DMU?; How do you see joy, generosity, and collectivity present in your DMUniverse?; How does DMU impact your understanding of collectivity and collective processes?; How might DMU’s collectivity translate to changes in architectural practice and the future of the profession?; How do you practice (or want to practice)?; And, how does your practice reconnect to the points of DMU’s mission?

These conversations took place on doorsteps, in parks, on busses, and en route to our meetings at the National Gallery of Art. Transcripts of conversations were analyzed, deconstructed, and restitched together with the goal of reconstructing the powerful feeling of being immersed in a polyphony of joy, collectivity, and abundance. The resulting excerpts provided frames of reference into core members’ thoughts, emotions, and sensory experiences. They offer a glimpse into the DMU retreat as a significant moment in time.

Below, you will find the aggregation of the polyphony quotes that are dispersed throughout the magazine.

This article first appeared in the October 2023 issue of ARCHITECT, which was guest edited and designed by Dark Matter U.