the network architecture lab @
the columbia university
graduate school of architecture, planning, and preservation
In Simultaneous Environments, the Netlab eschews graphical representation for photographic representation to suggest that the invisible is already made visible through the body language and behavior that we engage in while utilizing contemporary technology.
The departure point for Simultaneous Environments is Desmond Morris's 1977 book Manwatching, in which the former curator of mammals at the London Zoo and surrealist artist distinguished behaviors innate to the human animal from those conditioned by culture and society.
Simultaneous Environments brings Manwatching up to date, using photography as a critical tool to explore the impact of digital and network technologies on spatial behavior in everyday life. As the contemporary city evolves, the ways in which it stimulates the human pysche transforms as well. Equipped with innate mechanisms for coping, today we use mobile technology not just as a means to maintain greater connectivity, but to moderate the connections we establish around us. The camera reveals the private zones that we construct in public landscapes as we utilize wireless technologies. Documenting the invisible structures produced by data exposes moments of individual absurdity, public anonymity, false security, and collective behaviors of isolation while also underscoring the ethereal environments that increasingly surround us. As our public presence becomes increasingly augmented, we establish a unique assimilation of technology, revealing new relationships with our objects, places, and the people we encounter.