Are you still watching? Big data's eyes on architecture

Jamikorn Charoenphan
Still image taken from animated short film: Bedroom Scene

Are the spaces we occupy in our daily existence unique to living bodies?

With fridges that can detect expired food and cars that can park themselves, today we see objects becoming aware and pervasive through ubiquitous computing, invading all manner of spaces from the streetscape to the intimacy of your home.

Power, surveillance, and control: these three major themes are present throughout the research. Philosophers like Michel Foucault provided us with a taxonomy of different modalities of power in the 1960s-70s, but is it time to revisit these concepts in the 21st century?

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This thesis stipulates that we reconsider the current techno-political climate. It questions how the environment has been remoulded at both macro and micro levels in our contemporary surveillance society; a society saturated in machine-captured data, where people and their actions are increasingly becoming products of the market. Once-familiar spaces are thrust into the frontier of big data surveillance. 

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What happens when we allow computation out of the box and into our walls? What is this potential future scenario of an unregulated and unbounded technoscape? 

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Through techniques found in cinematography, this thesis converges into the realm of intimate spaces of the every day, using methodologies to navigate through the complex and entangled relationship of architecture and big data, such as storyboarding, visualisation and the production of a short film: are you still watching? 

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1: the art or science of building specifically: the art or practise of designing and building structures and especially habitable ones
2a: formation or construction resulting from or as if from a conscious act the architecture of the garden
b: a unifying or coherent form or structure a novel that lacks architecture
3: architectural product or work buildings that comprise the architecture of the square
4: a method or style of building 

Gothic architecture

5: the manner in which the components of a computer or computer system are organised and integrated different program architectures1

1. Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. “Architecture,” accessed January 14, 2020. 

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