Machine Species

This project proposes an adjustment to our relationship with connected technology, into a dialogue between urban humans and non-biological citizens, whose behaviour, and our interpretation of it, can aid our understanding of the city.

We challenge the notion of passive, connected street furniture, to reframe smart devices as machine organisms who live autonomously in the same spaces that we do. More similar to an urban fox than your iPhone.

Revealing the subterranean and centralised infrastructure in our cities fragments data exchange into various woven nodes that provide the freedom for citizens to engage and observe more regularly and with a greater sense of tactility, readability and intuition. As if watching sitting cows in a field to tell if it will rain.

Pollution is an ecological problem for city dwellers globally. People rightfully demand clean air in their neighbourhoods. Governments try to keep track of the issue as best they can, often using closed loops and black box technology. We have visualised an example of our concept with a working prototype of a machine we call “The Forager”. It changes colour based on PH sensitive markers placed around the city that detect air pollution. It sits within a broader network of connected nodes that scale from a community to national level.

This project was produced by Subject for a live brief from Future Cities Catapult [Now Connected Places Catapult] in 2015