Anthroturbation, according to geologists Jan Zalasiewicz et al. (2014) refers to human subterranean modifications of Earth's crust to extract resources or store waste, through mine fields, boreholes, tunnels, underground wires, pipes or deep repositories, to name a few. Each action is a topological disturbance to the terrestrial fabric, whose ramifications alters the Earth's stratigraphic layers from within. The scale and order of anthroturbation has no previous precedent in the planet's geological history, leaving unique textures and structures underground in ways that will exceed human lifespan.


The project captures this phenomena through simulating decay using computational design and digital fabrication strategies into a constellation of outputs, namely, diagrammatic explorations, generative animations, material experiments and a 3D printed face mask. Here, decay denotes to what philosopher Reza Negarestani (2008: 185) describes as something that 'builds without creation'. It is a subtractive building process by exposing the interiority of a form. Anthroturbation is an act of decay, as it constantly modifies existing older sediments beneath Earth and therefore exteriorises the Earth's interiority into ever shifting forms. 


The design process uses agent based simulation to compute swarm behaviour, where agents accrete together as collective human movements manipulating the Earth into a decaying mass. The 3D printed face mask is the culmination of a computationally and materially driven anthroturbation. It harnesses the act of decay in which the 3D printer's material deposition was simultaneously disintegrating the computed geometry from within, to the extent of blurring its boundaries between inside and outside. The diagrams track the evolution of agents and aids decision making, reflection and overall development from simulation to physicalisation. Whilst the animation below is a speculation into the dynamic morphological potentialities of human disturbances beneath the terrestrial surface. Several computational and material strategies were implemented to achieve decay based on the following: (1) increasing agents for geometrical complexity according to optimum printing requirements; (2) using material properties as an active agent during digital fabrication; (3) customising 3D printer's settings and (4) using all these factors as constraints for conditioning an emergent morphological behaviour retained in the mask. Each design stage and interaction generates a complex system of multiple disturbances in a generative cycle, encapsulated in material form.