Keeping Up Appearances

After a summer hiatus, the blog returns, this time free of the course I taught that inspired the blog posts. This is now a free-form blog for all things projection.

Below is “Keeping Up Appearances”, a competition entry by my firm Pablo Garcia/POINT for ReBurbia, an online competition sponsored by Dwell Magazine. It didn’t make the cut for the finalists, so I post it here. Sufficed to say, it attempts to use projection as a design motivator, in this case, the vision cones of both nosy neighbors and webcams.

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“The Jones family, like many, owns an oversized suburban home rapidly depreciating in value. They are long-time suburbanites with multiple cars, long commutes, and suburban ideals of neighborhood conformity. As nationwide tensions grow in the face of financial unease, the entire neighborhood steps up their usual glances at fellow suburbanites’ lifestyles to find local indicators of suburbia’s future.

More than 50% of America lives in suburbia. It remains popular, especially to populations new to the suburban lifestyle. Meanwhile, alternative employment models have made suburbia increasingly viable, as new generations telecommute and make friends online. Social networks are no longer limited to physical proximity, as employment and online communities collapse spatial barriers.

The Smiths, city dwellers since graduating from college, move to the suburbs for more space. They move into the Jones’ house that has been subdivided to comfortably accommodate two families. They share entry and circulation, but have private quarters. The Joneses, keeping their consumption conspicuous, divide their house into zones visible to neighbors through windows, and “blind spots”—places in their house invisible to prying eyes. The Smiths live in the Jones’ blind spots, satisfying neighborhood expectations, telecommuting and living a sustainable lifestyle. The Joneses, meanwhile, live in the Smith blind spots, just outside their webcam cameras, giving the Smiths a suburban equivalent online.”

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