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Floatables by Husman Haque- 2004

Mar 2009

Floatables is a project that questions the distinctions between “public” and “private” space.

Floatables proposes the introduction of jellyfish-like vessels that drift around cities to create temporary, ephemeral zones of privacy: an absence of phone calls, emails, sounds, smells and thermal patterns left behind by others. Through various electrical systems they are also able to prevent access of GPS devices, television broadcasts, wireless networks and other microwave emissions. Finally, by creating a “blurry barrier” and a ground-plane camouflage pattern, they provide shielding from the unembarrassed gaze of security cameras and surveillance satellites.

Floating around urban environments, in the tradition of architecture that tries to break free from the confines of gravity, the vessels provide fleeting moments of private visual space, auditory space and olfactory space — occupants can wander in at will when they happen to catch sight of one nearby. The spaces of absence created here are left to be filled with people’s own sounds, alpha-waves, smells and laughters. The vessels are powered mainly by sunlight and wind but
are supplemented by inducted electricity from mobile phones and 802.11 networks (in crowded spaces this amounts to several dozen Watts of unexpended power). Buoyancy is achieved by heating or cooling air in a
floatation sac, much like hot air balloons. The entire structure can collapse or expand as necessary to alter surface area in response to wind speed and altitude. The vessels have no particular destinations and drift like flotsam around the city. However, they must keep moving because to be discovered by the authorities means almost certain destruction.

It seems an interesting concept but hard to put in practice. Maybe too much stuff in the same “device”.

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