Real Virtuality
SS 18

Real Virtuality delves into the modern implications of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon concept within the realm of digital surveillance culture. The project reinterprets architecture as an amalgamation of tangible materials, socio-political frameworks, and binary codes within databases. It focuses on exploring human interactions with virtual spaces facilitated by virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, and how these virtual realms are manifested and structured in physical spaces.

Central to the project is a museum whose exhibits are sourced from the city's surveillance network, a pervasive and enigmatic element in the digital era. The museum functions as a dual entity: it enables observation and also subjects itself to scrutiny, where information flows in and out as both input and output. In contemporary society, the panopticon has morphed into a platform for self-expression under the gaze of surveillance, highlighting the tension between the omnipresence of monitoring systems, like "Skynet," and the diminishing realm of personal privacy.

The design of the project adheres to the spatial logic and organization of the panopticon model, aiming to articulate its subversive spatial dynamics in the digital age. The intent is to transform the traditional occupants of the panopticon, reimagining it as a "peep theater" within the current surveillance framework. This transformation challenges traditional notions of privacy and observation, providing a critical lens through which to view the interplay between technology, surveillance, and social interaction in the digital era.

- Site: Qianmen, Beijing, China