Domestic Capital: an experimental studio
M.Arch 1 Studio | AY2021-22 Semester 2
Takeaway, Toilet Breaks and One Very Persistent Cat
by Rebecca CHONG Shu Wen
A computer screen is flat, and yet paradoxically spatial. There appears to be a degree of magnification about the computer, holding our attention for a majority of our waking hours, and keeping us sufficiently satisfied without having to leave the 500mm radius of our chair and desk. Workspaces, sources of social stimulation, entertainment, are all instant and accessible, nothing but a reflexive wrist flick of a mouse or a keyboard entry away. A computer UI tells us everything and anything instantly, with constant stimuli signalling the gaps in our information.
Even though this 4-room HDB flat offers 105m2 of space, its inhabitants, a work-from-home architectural assistant and a gamer/streamer, spend most of their waking hours within the 500mm radius of their computers. In this safe space of 0.78m2, the digital spaces offer more than just convenience, but as well as control, social stimulation, and surety.
Reality pales in comparison as it appears unchanging, or even daunting; there isn’t an overworld notification system that tells us when the sun is starting to set, or what’s the next task in the main quest of life; and the extent of reality which we are willing to navigate decreases. Conversely, with how easy and straightforward it is to navigate the digital realm, where the “next task” is highlighted in bright red against a dominantly cool toned interface and a wrist flick away from tending to, the world from the computer desk grows smaller and more accessible with each software update or hardware upgrade. With more of our lives being converted to a digital existence, such that we become digital workers, this project seeks to develop a representation of the digital space in order to understand its hold over us. This research concludes in a design that productively disrupts virtual time and space using natural, nature-bound, or spontaneous occurrences, thus also challenging conventions surrounding interior-exterior boundaries.
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