This thesis studies a contemporary hobo population as a model for a system to exit society. Contemporary American Hobos occupy a small fragment of American subculture. Unlike hobos of the Dust Bowl Era, this population is not destitute, but rather a group of people who sought out train-hopping as a lifestyle for its most romantic elements.
The thesis examines this model to offer a gateway for people who become disenchanted with American consumerist capitalist society and decide to exit the grid. How is an Anarchitecture built for users whose ideals reject structure, permanence, and consumer culture? Site and user specificity are key components to this architecture, yet the context is siteless, traceless and off-the-grid. The negotiation of these contradictions is what this thesis aims to address.
EXIT.GRID functions as a three-part system examining issues of property, surveillance, invisibility, and DIY fabrication. Members of this subculture spend a lot of time waiting for their train and hiding from railroad officials; thus the program of EXIT.GRID, a temporary hiding place. The user accesses a website that outlines a network of plug-in points for EXIT.GRID as well as tips from insiders about how to ride the rails and instructions and drawings to construct the temporary hiding place. With this information, the user builds a mobile structure that plugs-in and out of the permanent network as a starter kit for this new life living on the edge.
A camouflage pattern was developed for the project through running the Perlin Noise script in Processing, adjusting the levels to get different levels of opacity and pixilation, using the logic of the MARPAT camouflage pattern. The gradient of camouflage is translated into a density of openings, creating a more porous skin on either end of the form and a more closed surface on the belly of the form. The camouflage system blurs the edges of the form and allows the user more visibility at the axes.
DESIGN: Molly Reichert, Colleen Paz, Brian Greib, Robby Crabtree, Gretchen Till.
THESIS ADVISORS: Luke Ogrydziak, Zoe Prillinger, Ron Rael