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Analogue Shake

Part 1 Project 2013
Michael Day
Birmingham City University | UK
Communication technology has made significant developments in recent years. As technology has evolved, so have the methods that criminality use to cause disruption. It is for this reason that the Government are currently reviewing the “Draft Communications Bill” which would force ISP’s to retain records of every users browsing activity, email correspondence and voice calls for twelve months in case they are required for investigation.

There is uncertainty to how the privacy of this information will be maintained. The project speculates on this uncertainty and the effect on society if a government were readily able to view and monitor internet traffic. The backdrop to this project is Stoke-on-Trent, the strong existing communities and a history of influential action groups within Stoke provide a catalyst to revoke against such monitoring. The Draft Bill brings scepticism to these communities and the way people communicate is drastically altered. Over time, people begin to revert back to old stable methods of communications to maintain a level of privacy and solidarity between communities. Type-writers are dusted off, Morse code equipment rejuvenated and Carrier Pigeons bought to enable free communication between communities.

The scheme proposed sits on a vacant plot of land spanning between industrial and residential development in Old Stoke Town. Using old communicative technologies remains legal but the authorities want to maintain a level of control and see a threat to any activity which is not visible to them. To ensure the scheme remains as inconspicuous as possible during daylight the project mimics surrounding urban context. Architectural devices such as alleyways are used to deter people who are unfamiliar with the area from entering the complex. Typical residential typologies are exploited to transform their spatial configuration on demand.

When night comes however, the community begins to morph and areas previously hidden become visible. Radio transmission hubs open up out of house roofs, the hidden underground Morse code centre becomes accessible, the printing press roof opens up for access and the pigeon despatch begins. All these devices are used to bring free communication to the locals and spread the action group’s anti-government privacy message.

Michael Day

Mr Kevin W Singh

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