ADS4: Plots, Props & Paranoia – How Architecture Stages Conspiracy
Harry is an architectural designer based out of London. He graduated from the undergraduate course at University of Bath in 2016, before extending his placement at a well-respected London practice for another two years, and enrolling at the RCA. Now interested in diversifying through channels which marry more harmoniously with his social agenda, Harry is looking to integrate with a new era of architectural designer, one that engages with the core social issues of the age. Focussed on London, he is pursuing pathways navigating both the public and private sectors, and intent on nurturing a previously dormant passion for writing.
His research focuses primarily on the social implications of profound societal shifts, and the associated, necessary dispersal of knowledge. His methodology has evolved to provide meaningful feedback on the meta-questions facing our increasingly unruly existence, through investigation of speculative scenarios. Through extrapolation of these particular scenarios to their most extreme, we are granted the ability to appraise them from an alternative point of view, in turn advancing the contemporary discourse. Harry's thesis project tackles the topical phenomenon of modern day surveillance, and its prevalence through our era of crisis, attempting to infiltrate habitual behaviours as a way of engaging a wider public in a more nuanced way.
This catastrophe has set the stage for surveillance capitalism to flourish. Accelerated by our powerlessness and widespread panic, surveillance levels are at an all time high. Track and trace apps monitor our movement, video calls record our homes, and infrared cameras log our body temperature. Far from exhaustive, these crude surveillance mediums nevertheless play into the hands of the data-rich, requiring a different and more nuanced vocabulary in order to alert people to [and thus prevent] their unrestricted expansion and normalisation.
Strauss-Howe Generational Theory
In its most simple version, the project takes the shape of recognisable supermarket forms, merely populated with personalised products, however, AR offers the opportunity to delve further into the depths of the surreal, in an attempt to disorient, unsettle, and ultimately startle the shopper into a greater state of self-awareness. Armed with a series of accompanying documents, individuals are encouraged to explore these multi-dimensions, utilising learnt behaviour from traditional browsing habits, to nurture more intimate relationships with their virtual-self.
Similar to long-range satellite photography resolution charts, the accompanying document provides the boundaries for the range of scales present in any of the supermarket spaces. It also encapsulates a notion of focus, to help gauge the size of the scale object in a world in which the perspective is distorting or has been distorted. The larger the object, the more intimate the data used to create the world, and the further the extrapolation from the metadata.