Neighborhood Watch

Ben Hooker, Shona Kitchen, Tim Durfee

Eric Battin, Ian Besler, Walton Chiu, Sarah Needham

Neighborhood Watch is a collection of landscapes, each exploring new narratives that may emerge as our everyday environments are transformed by the domestication of industrial and military technologies, particularly camera-equipped unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

As these technologies advance to the foreground of our daily experience, the parameters of their algorithmic and physical performance will gradually shape all aspects of the built environment. The scenarios in Neighborhood Watch emerge from imagined — but not entirely unlikely — aspects of life when we share the city with intelligent objects: airborne devices with limited battery life, flying (and perching) arrays of projectors, flocking and herding of air and land-bound autonomous vehicles, algorithmic tethers, UAV debris, watchful — but nosy — autopiloted cameras.

These simulations have more in common with diagrams or weather maps than cinematic or gaming variations of reality. Rather than consisting of authored stories or entirely top-down designed ‘worlds,’ the project is a construction site where new elements are added that alter the environment, creating unfamiliar scenarios and situations with a degree of unpredictability, danger, and humor.

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