SQM: Fortress of Solitude

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‘Fortress of Solitude’ is an essay film in three chapters investigating the technology used to make the home smarter. The internet and alternative network protocols are the backbone to home automation. Much of the technology infused into homes and our everyday lives have a history of defense funding or only exist because of military research. Is the smart home in fact a militarisation of the domestic, home.mil? Is our home becoming a data machine rather than architecture for living? Are our most privates spaces broadcasting our lives involuntarily instead of providing shelter? Tracing the possibilities of a military-domestic complex, Fortress of Solitude is an investigative narrative interspersed with future product proposals.
‘Fortress of Solitude’ is an essay film in three chapters investigating the technology used to make the home smarter. The internet and alternative network protocols are the backbone to home automation. Much of the technology infused into homes and our everyday lives have a history of defense funding or only exist because of military research. Is the smart home in fact a militarisation of the domestic, home.mil? Is our home becoming a data machine rather than architecture for living? Are our most privates spaces broadcasting our lives involuntarily instead of providing shelter? Tracing the possibilities of a military-domestic complex, Fortress of Solitude is an investigative narrative interspersed with future product proposals.

Project team: Simone Niquille
Sound: M.E.S.H.
Voice: Patrick Ethan Donovan

Commissioned by
Biennale Interieur Kortrijk

Exhibitions:
7 – 11/10 2015
Architectuur Film Festival Rotterdam

23/05 2015
Architecture On Film
Barbican Centre, London

27/02 – 26/03 2015
CC Strombeek, Belgium

31/01 – 27/02 2015
White Hole, Genova

17 – 26/10 2014
Biennale Interieur Kortrijk, Belgium

Press:
Architecture Foundation
Nicolas Nova for Near Future Lab
Artribune
AQNB

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SQM: The Theatre of Everyday Life
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SQM is a research into the condition of this unfamiliar space known as home—a speculative assemblage of historical artefacts, moments of contemporary domesticity collected on social mediaand  films presented in the Theatre of Everyday Life, a temporary installation in the Rambla at Kortrijk Xpo. It investigates different themes that have shaped domestic life in the post-war era, from the kitchen as a space for political rebellion to the bedroom as a space to be sold, from the home as an engine of financial speculation to a stage set for public broadcast.


This project is a part of SQM: The Home Does Not Exist.

SQM is a research into the condition of this unfamiliar space we affectionately call home—a speculative assemblage of fragments of domesticity present and future in the form of an exhibition, The Theatre of Everyday Life. Our values have changed, and the home as we once knew it no longer exists: this project is an invitation to abandon received ideals of domesticity and observe with new eyes the challenges and opportunities for design in our time, thrilling and unpalatable as they may be.The Theatre of Everyday Life explores contemporary domesticity through historical artefacts, broadcast of contemporary domesticity collected on social media (Home Screen) and original films in an architectural installation along the Rambla at Kortrijk Xpo. It investigates different themes that have shaped domestic life in the post-war era, from the kitchen as a space for political rebellion to the bedroom as a space to be sold, from the home as an engine of financial speculation to a stage set for public broadcast, and more. The exhibition will also include original stories and drawings of 20 significant homes featured in the SQM book.


This project is a part of SQM: The Home Does Not Exist.

Project team: Joseph Grima, Giulia Finazzi (structure); Tamar Shafrir, Joseph Grima, Andrea Bagnato (display)
Visual design: Folder (Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual)
The structure of the Theatre of Everyday Life was generously provided by Prokoss Mobilrot. Benedetto Zito coordinated its production; the Prokoss team is composed of Roland Gruber, Rita Gjidoda, Sandro Rossi, Mario Folchini, and Massimiliano Bongiorni.Thanks to Pieter Blondé and Ann Goethals of Chloroform and An Michiels, Joost Vanhecke, Céline Lagae from Biennale Interieur.Commissioned by Biennale Interieur, Kortrijk, Belgium

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SQM: The Quantified Home
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The way we live is rapidly changing under pressure from multiple forces—financial, environmental, technological, geopolitical. What we used to call home may not even exist anymore, having transmuted into a financial commodity measured in square meters. Yet, domesticity ceased long ago to be central in the architectural agenda; this project aims to launch a new discussion on the present and the future of the home.

SQM: The Quantified Home, produced for the 2014 Biennale Interieur, charts the scale of this change using data, fiction, and a critical selection of homes and their interiors—from Osama bin Laden’s compound to apartment living in the age of Airbnb.

With original texts by Rahel Aima, Aristide Antonas, Gabrielle Brainard and Jacob Reidel, Keller Easterling, Ignacio González Galán, Joseph Grima, Hilde Heynen, Dan Hill, Sam Jacob, Alexandra Lange, Justin McGuirk, Joanne McNeil, Alessandro Mendini, Jonathan Olivares, Marina Otero Verzier, Paul B. Preciado, Anna Puigjaner, Catharine Rossi, Andreas Ruby, Malkit Shoshan, and Bruce Sterling.

The book is published by Lars Müller. It is available for sale online and in selected bookstores.

The dust jacket is screen-printed on wallpaper in 22 different patterns, randomly mixed.

Download the table of contents.


This project is a part of SQM: The Home Does Not Exist.
The way we live is rapidly changing under pressure from multiple forces—financial, environmental, technological, geopolitical. What we used to call home may not even exist anymore, having transmuted into a financial commodity measured in square meters. Yet, domesticity ceased long ago to be central in the architectural agenda; this project aims to launch a new discussion on the present and the future of the home.

SQM: The Quantified Home, produced for the 2014 Biennale Interieur, charts the scale of this change using data, fiction, and a critical selection of homes and their interiors—from Osama bin Laden’s compound to apartment living in the age of Airbnb.


This project is a part of SQM: The Home Does Not Exist.
Project team: Joseph Grima, Andrea Bagnato, Tamar Shafrir

Managing editor: Andrea Bagnato

Book design by Folder (Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual)

“Home Screen” section: Simone C. Niquille
Flash fiction editor: Gianluigi Ricuperati with Caterina Toschi
Drawings: Folder with U67
Assistant designer: Marina Mangiat
Research assistant: Bernardo Martins de Almeida
Publishing coordination: Rebekka Kiesewetter / Lars Müller Publishers
Proofreading: Danko Szabó

Printing: PurePrint, Belgium
Screen printing: Creafor, Belgium
Binding and finishing: Delabie Binders, Belgium

Thanks to Paola Antonelli, Jan Boelen, Piet Germonprez, Bruce Sterling

With the support of Biennale Interieur, Kortrijk, Belgium, and of the Flemish Commission

ISBN 978-3-03778-453-2

Press:

Domus

The Architectural Review, March 2015
Blueprint no. 339, 2015
Metropolis Magazine (print/2015 reading list)
Bruce Sterling
Nicolas Nova @ Walker Art Center
fabric|rblg
DisegnoDaily

Awards:
Special mention, XXIV Compasso d’Oro
European Design Award 2015

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Domesti-city
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Discussions with designers, writers, and curators
In 1968 (the year of both Archigram’s Instant City and Jean Baudrillard’s Le Système des Objets), when the first edition of Biennale Interieur opened in Belgium, the home was a central site of critical attention and investigation. A new domestic landscape—as identified by the prominent MoMA exhibition four years later—emerged from increasingly hypothetical conceptions of living, in which the quest for social change was paralleled by the confidence in new materials and technologies. In the 1960s and 1970s, avant-garde architects produced countless visions of future cities as well as future domesticity.

Throughout history, plans for an ideal society have often been articulated through the space of the home. Whether borne out of necessity or radical ideology, these projects are a subconscious portrayal of the desires and fears of both their individual authors and the wider social contexts behind them. The cross-section drawings presented in Domesti-city allow for a comparative view of multiple ideal homes, making visible spatial and social implications that may be difficult to read in plan. The new building regulations drafted in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London defined the model of the single-family terraced house, which would become the basic unit of London’s expansion for the following two centuries; the social condensers designed by the Russian constructivists embodied the pursuit of a new, egalitarian society visible in their collective kitchens; the homes designed by American companies in the 1950s were almost manifestos for economic optimism.

Thus, domestic interiors are neither neutral, nor innocent. They are the product of a perpetual tension between external forces (economical, political, even microbiological) rarely taken into account by designers. Yet it is at the scale of the interior that the transition between everyday objects and urban questions takes place.

In recent decades, domestic space has all but disappeared from the critical agenda—in parallel with its increasing commodification. Hosting a series of discussions with designers, writers, and curators (including Paola Antonelli, Bruce Sterling, Justin McGuirk, and others) Domesti-city has launched the SQM research project that Space Caviar will present at Biennale Interieur (17–26 October 2014) in Kortrijk. Tracing market fluctuations, failed ideals, global flows, and new fabrication techniques, SQM will make the case for a renewed discussion on the home.

In recent decades, domestic space has all but disappeared from the critical agenda—in parallel with its increasing commodification. Hosting a series of discussions with designers, writers, and curators (including Paola Antonelli, Bruce Sterling, Justin McGuirk, and others) Domesti-city has launched the SQM research project that Space Caviar will present at Biennale Interieur (17–26 October 2014) in Kortrijk. Tracing market fluctuations, failed ideals, global flows, and new fabrication techniques, SQM will make the case for a renewed discussion on the home.
Project team: Joseph Grima, Tamar Shafrir, Andrea Bagnato, Giulia Finazzi, Alicia Ongay-Perez
Supported by Biennale Interieur
Exhibition dates:
8 — 13 April 2014, Salone del Mobile 2014: Atelier Clerici, Palazzo Clerici, Milan, Italy
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