Digital technologies have long been used for two sides of the same coin, both sides portrayed as morally congruent. On one side, we use for our personal enjoyment objects that augment or benefit our day-to-day lives without being completely necessary, such as the clothes in which we hide or the shoes on which we depend to wade through our own urban wastelands. On the other, we see technologies being used by collective entities to supposedly enhance our lives by surveilling us and our neighbors—essentially preemptively criminalizing everyone prior to acts of crime, in the name of preventing crimesthat may or may not have actually ever happened.
And so in our age of silicon microchips, we find digital technologies not only able to observe to an exceedingly alarming degree the facets of our daily activities, but to digitally reconstruct in near-real time. With the introduction of software that can stitch together photographs to form architectural three-dimensional models, and cameras that sense not only light, color, and sound but also depth, how long will it be before the spaces around us can be orbited in real time digital space? How long before we must worry not about smiling on camera as we pass through airport security, but about the over-analysis of every expressive move that might be automatically flagged as a threat, prompting removals from the terminal line as we’re stripped of our outerwear and rights?
Regulation breeds regulation. Already we find a growing self-consciousness of what’s in our pockets, passing through security checkpoints that increasingly utilize life-enhancing digital realities for faux-security. But how long before these already-controversial machines are no longer identifiable objects or thresholds, but omnipresences in cities and even within our homes? When architecture constitutes no longer a barrier between us and the surrounding world, but an equally active suspect in the surveillance of the security state, where does that leave us to hide from our self-incriminating system of hypocritical laws and regulations?
BuildingSatire is a blog consisting of architectural satire, cynicism, and humor to alleviate the tension and pretension in professional architecture.