One of the most problematic and complex issues rightfully circulating the media and occupying headlines are conflicts that arise along borderlines. More specifically concerning refugee migration due to catastrophic political, economical, social and cultural circumstances. For example ISIL and the Syrian Regime Army in Syria, drug Cartels and Narco-trafficking in Mexico and throughout South America, and the Libyan Civil War. Much of the relentless response against these massive migration patterns has translated into creating further spaces of confinements, closing down of borders, locking up men and women behind bars in migrant detention centers, crimes of non assistance in the Pacific Ocean and promises of taller and thicker walls along various borders of conflict. Such responses fueled by the panicked public support in many European and North American countries under various organizers and key spokesman such as Trump or Le Pen just to name a couple are not just indicators of some far fetched Orwellian future realities, but highlight the current political geographical landscapes of confinement and indifference.
Focusing on large numbers of migrants I would like to address these spaces of confinement and patterns of movement not through any specific political, environmental or social parameters, but through the nature of movement, response, resilience, acceptance and retaliation itself. To be able to create a dynamic environment where continuous flow of swarms of actants act and react to various immediate spatial surroundings I will turn to models of objects on a table, where every object is surveilled registered and recognized, much like the globe, it’s many borders and geography itself. To program various behaviors, instead of turning to crowd behavioral theories such as theory of contagion, convergent and emergent norm, I will instead begin with basic behaviors of spatial intelligence; intelligence meaning immediate and continuous responses to periphery and dynamic interior borders of objects and their various resulting relationships on the table. Continuous relations between objects will situate swarms in various spatial situations like kettles in a riot, and each situation will spark various choreographed yet dynamic and changing responses (in the case of kettling for example such situation is met with agitation and panic in movement patterns). Arrangements of various objects in different shapes and features, manipulated by the viewers in real- time will situate a few, some or lots of autonomous agents in areas of confinement where solids and void will demand different routes, patterns and behaviors in movement. Consequently highlighting escape routes to spatial freedom against mass control and subversion in 21st centuries’ world of borders.
Escape Routes enables the user to bridge the line between the physical world and the virtual world by tracking real-life objects and assigning them to recognizable objects in the processing framework. This allows for all sorts of phenomena, dynamic events and special effects to occur in real-time. Furthermore, if additional real-life objects are placed onto the frame, new interactions/ relations can occur between them, demonstrating the code’s ability to control action flow whilst encouraging participation.
Through three basic rules such as avoiding crowding neighboring agents, heading towards average direction of flock and moving towards the center of flock Kokkugia uses swarm intelligence to dynamically plan out an urban design in such a way to allow maximum comfort to inhabitants of the area. This is the closest example I found that uses swarms with basic rules or behaviors that outline some relational concepts in space. Where the goal here is to lay the groundwork for the design itself, my project instead provides the dynamic environment where the swarm is constantly responding to its environmental constraints.
By Forensic Architecture
Amongst one of my favorite architectural computation labs, the Forensic Architecture team dissects extremely complex arrangements of events such as bombs exploding over Gaza strip or in this case boats full of refugees strategically avoided by army rescue teams and left to die. Through algorithmically rich and complex methodologies, the lab maps out various spatial realities through all the media they could find such as tweets, snippets of video, UN reports, and news reports to piece together exactly what really happened in areas of conflict, making in most cases covered up stories a public truth.
By Rafael Lozano Hemmer
The concept and implementation of Hemmer’s ‘Sandbox’ is very closely related to ‘Escape Routes’. Focusing on the border of Mexico and USA the project encourages participation on two very different scales. A small sandbox overlooking the beach projects mini versions of people down below and the live video of people above playing with the small sandbox are projected back onto the beach. With a border drawn at the middle of the frame the project highlights the effects of control and convergence in a playful manner and it does so by using the same surveillance technologies as used along the border. This is a relational experiment that playfully manipulates and redirects people’s movement through space and it is successful through a rather simple intervention. The core strength of this project lies in its spatial arrangement. The play with these two scales and their hierarchical relationship (vertical hierarchy) provides dynamic levels of interaction. A sense of control from the top and response on the beach switches time-to-time depending on the social dynamics of each environment; blurring the lines between the controllers and the controlled.