published in: ARTIFICAL LABOR, e-flux Architecture & MAK Wien
The provocation of automation, by whatever technologic means, is not an interface design question. It is not about our experience, or how friendly, human-like or smooth these machines will be. Rather, it is a question of human agglomeration; a provocation to rethink, I argue, housing as a building type dedicated to dwelling. The challenge will be to go beyond the (modern) conception of housing as reproductive space in the face the disappearance of its dialectical opposite: spaces of production. Housing was, at least historically speaking, the response to industry’s promise of leisure. How then are we to live together and interact with one another within an increasingly automated, and thus formally determined, technological environment? The question of technology is not how we might escape it, but rather how we will affirm it and what it portends in relation to the way we dwell and live. In order to be able to answer these questions we must first understand the relationship between housing and labor genealogically, as one that emerged with the advent of industrialization and transformed as the result of post-war economic and urban reorganization. It is only from this perspective that we can grasp what is at stake in the contemporary transition towards an increasingly automated economy and challenge the very idea of housing as a space for living.
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