A COMPANION OF KRISIS
For the last six-hundred years, Western civilisation has been preyed upon by unavoidable cycles of recurring catastrophe. The “turnings” [Highs, Awakenings, Unravellings, Crises] are predictable, and today our era of extreme volatility has peaked once more. We have been catapulted into a new viral reality; a world defined by fear, fragility, and isolation. So, what world awaits us on the other side? This catastrophe has set the stage for surveillance capitalism to flourish. Accelerated by our powerlessness and widespread panic, surveillance levels are at an all time high. Track and trace apps monitor our movement, video calls record our homes, and infrared cameras log our body temperature. Far from exhaustive, these crude surveillance mediums nevertheless play into the hands of the data-rich, requiring a different and more nuanced vocabulary in order to alert people to [and thus prevent] their unrestricted expansion and normalisation.
The project targets our habitual behaviours, those most affected by the lockdown, in order to infiltrate our routines and induce a heightened state of awareness in relation to data sovereignty. The supermarket is a typology historically connected with data usage, from Tesco's innovative Clubcard, to the technological and social advancements of the American Shopping Mall. As well as being a bastion of late-capitalism, it is also one of the few remaining outlets functioning during lockdown. However, our habitual mode(s) of shopping have been inverted. We no longer amble around a supermarket leisurely browsing the produce, instead opting to conduct most transactions online. Combining the decentralisation of consumption, the pioneering efforts of Clubcard's data processing, and the statistic that one supermarket holds roughly the equivalent number of calories that an individual will consume over their lifetime, the project asks: what might become of the ’supermarket' in a new, post-crisis, data-oriented society?
A Companion of Krísis proposes an evolved supermarket typology - one centred around browsing. However, rather than browsing groceries, we are instead witness to the ever-evolving materialisation of one's data-persona. Drawing on an existing taxonomy of quad-dimensional shopping behaviours, the supermarket places data into one of four categories (Normative, Social, Sacred and Hedonistic); this data is subsequently synthesised into a sequence of multidimensional spaces. These spaces, and the liminal places between them, are then materialised in augmented reality. In its most simple version, the project takes the shape of recognisable supermarket forms, merely populated with personalised products, however, AR offers the opportunity to delve further into the depths of the surreal, in an attempt to disorient, unsettle, and ultimately startle the shopper into a greater state of self-awareness. Armed with a series of accompanying documents, individuals are encouraged to explore these multi-dimensions, utilising learnt behaviour from traditional browsing habits, to nurture more intimate relationships with their virtual-self.
A DIGITAL INTIMACY
A COMPANION OF KRISIS
A LANGUAGE OF TRUTH
STUDIES IN 35MM
THE LONDON SHOW