Free Wi-Fi (that comes at a price)
Name: Hongming Liang
Institution / Company: McGill University
-HONOURABLE MENTION of FUTURE PUBLIC SPACE Competition
Public space has experienced a chronic but unmistakable decay. The ongoing covid-19 pandemic, besides everything else, exacerbates the death sentence of public space. While the physical space still exists and being designed in cities. It no longer serves its most quintessential role, that is to invite, gather, and engage people into the public realm. The effective public sphere has largely shifted to virtual where spectacle, interaction, and argument take place. Public space today failed to redirect our spirit and attention away from the simulated environment, as we bodily reside in the private sphere constantly.
The project aims not to provide specific configurations for future public space, but to place an intrusive joint at the juncture of the public and private realm. Resembling the mass of a public statue, the device can be deployed in any existing sizable public space. The installation provides visitors with free wi-fi connection at a cost of broadcasting their personal screen. While it depicts a conflict in the “presentation image”, the installation can also be used collaboratively, for example, as a monitor for public speech or protest. By providing such a neutral backdrop, the design also questions the authorship and democracy of conventional urban planning.
#Privacy, Data& Surveillance #Integration of diverse social groups #Education and Cultural exchange #Digital vs/and physical #Public ritual