Neighborhood Watch Files is a collection of landscape experiments which explore new narratives and conditions that may emerge as our everyday environments are transformed by the proliferation of camera-equipped autonomous devices, and large-scale electronic displays. (more...)
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 selected imagined - by not entirely unlikely - aspects of life when we share the city with intelligent mobile objects and screens of all kinds. These scenarios have more in common with diagrams of weather maps than cinematic or gaming versions of reality. Rather than consisting of authored stories or entirely top-down designed 'worlds,' the project is a construction site where simulation software is used to add new technological elements to familiar environments, creating unfamiliar scenarios and situations with a degree of unpredictability and humor.
Our perspective in all this is neither dystopian nor boosterish. We are not interested in sci-fi moralizing or video game nihilism. Rather, we view this project as optimistic: that the effects of so much intimidating change can nevertheless be explored and appreciated – perhaps co opted with curiosity and humor in a way that artists, architects and filmmakers have been occasionally adept at in the past.
CAMERAS FLY OVERHEAD
NETWORKED FLOCKS SHARE AIRSPACE WITH SOLITARY DEVICES
FEED FROM A GROUND-FACING AERIAL CAMERA
A CIVIC CLUSTER SKIRTS A HOME'S AIRSPACE
Yeah, I'd probably want my own private flock. Yes, I would.
VIEW FROM HIGH ALTITUDE CUL-DE-SAC CAM: A PRIVATE ARRAY PERCHES ON A ROOF
CAMERAS ORBIT A BUILDING
BUMPS AND BATTERY FAILURES ARE EVERYDAY OCCURRENCES IN CROWDED NEIGHBORHOOD AIRSPACE
DRONE DEBRIS LITTERS THE GROUND
They’re mostly biodegradable at this point, though those tiny batteries and cameras seem like a waste.
SENSORS OFTEN REMAIN ONLINE LONG AFTER PROPULSION SYSTEMS HAVE FAILED
BUILDUP OF AERIAL VEHICLE DEBRIS IS MOST DENSE AROUND THE BASE OF CHARGING TOWERS
ELECTRA IS A POPULAR SPONSORED MODEL
It seemed so tacky at first – like a lawn jockey or gnome or what have you. But once it caught on that you can make serious money from these things – oh, well, everything changed overnight.
PRIVATE DEVICES ARE USUALLY ALGORITHMICALLY TETHERED TO CONSTRAIN THEIR RANGE. A COMPETITIVE, SOMEWHAT OSTENTATIOUS, FLIGHT PATH 'TOPIARY' IS APPARENT IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS
CAGES, AIR CURTAINS, NETS AND SCREENS HELP LIMIT ACCIDENTAL DEVICE INCURSION
You could say they are keeping things out as much as they are keeping things in.
RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION FLOCKS CAN BE TRAINED TO REGULATE A GEOFENCED AREA AND CHASE OFF UNWANTED UAVS, OR CORRAL SELECTED FAUNA
I like the birds to match the colors of the plants... It’s a mostly harmless procedure.
CERTAIN CONDITIONS TRIGGER DEVICES TO BREAK THEIR ALGORITHMIC TETHERS AND GO INVESTIGATE. GARDEN-BASED FLOCKS ARE, HOWEVER, NOTORIOUSLY PRONE TO OVERREACTION. A CAMERA SWARM WILL SURROUND AN UNKNOWN SQUIRREL, OR A TWITCHING CURTAIN, AND A PAPARAZZI-LIKE FEEDBACK LOOP OCCURS AS THE DEVICES THEMSELVES BECOMING THE SUBJECT FOR INVESTIGATION FROM OTHER DEVICES, AND SO ON...
THE PROLIFERATION OF NEIGHBORHOOD VIDEO TURF PANELS CAN ADD TO DEVICES' COMPUTER VISION CONFUSION
Planning my flock’s work has become a bit routine, and the interface is due for an upgrade. I thought I would be trimming my hedges everyday, but they have been really useful for is rare bird spotting.
RESIDENTS OFTEN SEND DEVICES ON RECREATIONAL SORTIES
THESE CUSTOMIZED TELE-VISUAL EXCURSIONS, FROM THE COMFORT OF HOME, ARE A POPULAR AFTER-DINNER ACTIVITY
SOME CHANNEL OPTIONS
THE BIG-SCREEN TV – A SINGLE GLOWING RECTANGLE INTO A DISCONNECTED VIRTUAL WORLD – HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED WITH VIDEO SURFACE TILE. REMOTE CAMERA DEVICES ARE ORCHESTRATED TO CREATE PROJECTED EXTENSIONS OF THE HOME
At first it was unsettling because I lost track of what were things and what were images of things! Now I just don't think about it any more.
ELECTRONIC DISPLAYS EXIST AT A LARGER, NEIGHBORHOOD SCALE: CIVIC STRUCTURES SIT IN A VIDEO FIELD
ONE NEIGHBORHOOD WILL 'FEATURE' ANOTHER BY STAGING PROJECTED LIVE MEDIA FROM A REMOTE LOCATION
A PIECE OF VIDEO LANDSCAPE ROLLS BY
A RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION ARRAY SCANS A SWATH OF LAND FOR RE-PROJECTION ELSEWHERE
PROGRAMS OF CIVIC DEVICE MOVEMENT DESCRIBE NEW PATTERNS OF INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE LANDSCAPE. OVER TIME THESE BECOME FORMALIZED
FROM THIS VIEWPOINT, SECTIONS OF THE TOYOTA-AMAZON GRID ARE VISIBLE
A collaboration with Tim Durfee, Shona Kitchen, Andrew Nagata; with assistance and thanks to Eric Battin, Ian Besler, Walton Chiu, Sarah Needham. This project was made possible with a grant through ArtCenter College's Media Design Practices (MDP) summer research program.