Rem Koolhas recently published an article for the series “Digital Minds for a New Europe” where he discussed his view on ‘Smart Cities‘. Yes, our cites are heading the age where things can talk to us and perform according to our needs and usage.
However what does it mean for the quality of our everyday dwelling? If we are constantly monitorised in hybrid space, so that objects can reply to us, who is going to be in charge of controlling the digital infrastructure that enables communication? Who is going to pass information from one terminal to another? In other words, who is going to control hybrid spaces?
The government, state, administration???? Mmmmmmm..
In the parallel debate of net neutrality, where only few are in control of the info we access through the Internet, can you imagine what might happen if these people are not only in control of the movies, articles, and so on, we watch and read but also of how are life enables its functionality in the everyday?
Is SMART really SMART for us, or is just a glassed layer on top of a bitter pill to swallow? What ‘public’ hybrid space is in an oligarchic high-tech corporation controlled space, either digital or real?
Rem Koolhas described how he has been analysing the current state of architectural basics – door, windows, ceiling and so on – with his Harvard students to see how such basics are changing in the age of smart cities.. well they are of course moving towards remote device controlled entities, whose control is liminally related to us, as fully delivered by few digital infrastructure corporation.
As architect/artist I feel I need to get back to space; it’s very hard to accept that we are under an invisible coat, which is wrapping us without any possibility of debate.
Space enables democracy. Greek and Roman cities were shaped around the Agora (Ἀγορά), a place for debate where citizens met to discuss and argue. The riddle is then, is there any Agora left for us? What is the Agora of “Smart Cities”?
I take the discovery of the contemporary agora spaces as a challenge for myself