AA Inter 3

INSIDIOUS WONDERLANDS – Are you really in control? by nicholaszembashi
December 20, 2014, 7:28 am
Filed under: 2013-14

“ All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes. It is the function of consciousness, not only to recognise and assimilate the external world through the function of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us.” C.G.Jung

How could a segment of the city be manipulated when mapped through individualised fantasies? Could these have any collective implications on certain physical urban parameters? How does an AA student listening to Smashing Pumpkins in studio impact his surroundings? Or a Chinese teenager visiting the British Museum, listening to Lady GaGa? Perhaps a worker on the Crossrail project humming to Black Sabbath?

The film features an arduino prototype constructed in order to create long-exposure light tracks over a diagrammatic representation of London’s Soho and Bloomsbury areas. The lights alternate according to variations in sound received by the arduino. The audio inputs rotate the servos and blink the lights accordingly.

Every individualised output features a highly codified mandala-like light image juxtaposed with its direct visualisation of the real locations it depicts. Certain areas of the city can only be unlocked by collective audio inputs from various individuals or by almost complete silence.

The film is part of a wider argument relating to land ownership and specifically interpreting the concept of wonderland. The seemingly invisible, unreadable and artificial wonderlands of every person inhabiting a land are collectively present all around. They are revealed in all their banality to have an insidious yet arguably vast physical impact on built reality. Due to the advent of new technologies anyone, more than ever, is exposed to the potential of a DIY ‘wonderland’. Does this re-address power and control in society and if so what are society’s implications on its architectural surroundings which had been a form of order and control?

Yet, how much of this ‘impact’ is an outcome of complete freedom? Is the pluralistic nature of society’s neoliberal condition an illusion? Is this vast complexity another method of control though limited, sporadic micro-cosims scaled to the level of the individual? The world is becoming ever more codified despite a projected image of increasing openness and freedom. Complexity and control are simply becoming highly integrated and seamless. The new era of power and control is successful through its subtleness and invisibility.

Is architecture bound to being an ordering device, at its best providing the illusion of freedom, of possible individual wonderlands while adhering to a wider, archetypal wonderland to which everyone subconsciously belongs to?


These are some questions I am adding to the overall thematic to help me see what other areas relate that can help narrow it down and focus it when applied to Sri Lanka. From the jury as well as the film the more interesting concepts to take forward may be the idea of the DIY Wonderland, reality codified or de-codified into alternate reality, power lying with the one who can ‘break the code’, as well as the entire notion of ‘subjectivity’ exploited though the subliminal collective archetypes (almost pre-determined) for new seamless control. Finally this idea that power relations may lie between the superimposition of different layers constructed over land.

In the film I decided to leave the parametric layers I created through grasshopper out. What features is the prototype and shots from around the city I took. I tried to keep it as simple as I could by using a single direction of movement in perspective as the method of travelling around the city so this becomes a ‘frame’ for the individual user’s wonderland to be constructed within.

Below I included some images from the prototype, a long-exposure shot and the jury set up for Nannette to see as well.


finally, sorry for this being so long-winded, and for the late posting in general, hope you enjoy the video, looking forward to Sri-Lanka and to start implementing our ideas there! Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and speak soon!!!! 🙂






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