Probing the network. Architecturality of Wireless Infrastructure
Mobile devices and wireless networks have a prominent place in our interaction with the environment and with each other. Like every new technology, it has been a subject to inflated expectations. Scholars, writers, artists and architects have explored how this new digital layer could reconstitute our experience of the ‘real’ urban world, reconfigure space and finally, recompose social interactions within it. In reality although hardly negligible, its impact has not been that spectacular. In this paper, we will outline a set of design and artistic practices attuned at understanding and articulating the interplay of the social, digital and physical infrastructures. These artistic and design artefacts outline a tangible territory of interactions which contributes to our understanding of the physicality of wireless communication and its coexistence within built architecture. Aesthetic experiments, playful interventions and critical designs all conceptualise interaction with an otherwise insensible infrastructure. We will identify common threads in the ways these artworks manipulate the wireless ‘material’ with a focus on the underlying motivation and resulting outcomes. Based on this, we will discuss these practices in the light of their relevance for and reference to architecture.