15 July 2013
Architectural Association, London
Holding a 90% monopoly on telecommunications in Mexico, Carlos Slim is the world’s richest man. With little resilience and at the mercy of corporate greed, we put our faith in these aging centralised systems that are now beginning to show their cracks. William Gowland of the Unknown fields Tactical Technologies Division has built the components for a network infrastructure that undermines and subverts this monopoly. Borrowing from the cartels radio communication network, a laser line of sight communication system is created that is not elicit or illegal, but off grid and under the radar. The result is a decentralised communication system that is local, ad hoc and resilient. A performative urban landscape emerges that facilitates the neighbourhood relationships, communities and markets that are lost in a city of global telecommunications. The system is open source and mobile, and the communities of the city soon develop their own constellation of transceivers and mirror relays, cultures, practices and procedures. The telecommunications monopoly is evolving into a DIY city of calibration graffiti, carved and sculpted building surfaces, reflectivity, absorbance and deregulated laser light conversations.
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