The lack of disconnect between individuals is the condition of today's urban communities: every day, the lines between physical and virtual, public and private, and individual and collective become more and more blurred. This contemporary urban condition restricts the ability to carve out space for the individual citizen in reaction to the institutionalized city.
This project advocates for the right to solitude as a catalyst for solidarity; where idiosyncratic experiences are linearly aligned in order to balance an active brand of collective disconnection against this developing sociopolitical model of dependency.
Siting these moments of social exception must mimic the variety of dichotomous networks already present in the city; therefore, this delineation---the projection plane for disconnect---always exists adjacent to monuments of compliance, remnants of privatization, or perpetuators of conformity.
The particular urban incubator, Chicago, has a long history of fostering subversive cultures that emphasize independent mindsets while simultaneously representing the inherent institutionalization of a first-tier city.
This particular cross-section of the city both typifies and elaborates on the institutions present in Chicago, with the center of the perspective looking south on LaSalle Street, an architecturally tall and dense area of the city commonly referred to as the "Canyon." The section cuts through a variety of typologies that epitomize Chicago and sets the stage for the installations of solitude: these intermittent moments of disconnect modify the actor-spectator relationships inherent to each typical edifice.
Most importantly, though, this section dissects Chicago's City Hall building: a neoclassical structure that helps outline the Canyon and contains the most powerful influencers of the urban scene. Because of its location, architectural style, and dominant status, this building performs in order to maintain its rank in the urban hierarchy. This act is both physical and phenomenological, and highly dependent on the relationship with the spectator.
As a play on this actor-spectator relationship inherent to each typical edifice, this proposal consists of dispersed objects along a linear motif of collective disconnection. Each individual installation, then, is composed of four components: the frame, the eye, the beacon, and the book.
1. The frame is a small, lockable six-sided room lined with copper to block cell phone signal on the inside. Silence, darkness, and emptiness ensure a genuinely solitary experience amidst the plurality of the heavily networked city.
2. The wall opposite the door is distinctive from the rest in that it features one small aperture, the eye. This perforation grows from a 3-inch square on the interior of the frame to a 3-foot square on the exterior, hinting at the immense scale of the adjacent city while juxtaposed against the idiosyncratic isolation of the room itself.
3. The beacon, really a mundane incandescent light bulb, hangs from the ceiling; due to the object's familiarity, it acts as an anchor of the commonplace within the local and global scales that the installation articulates.
4. Lastly, resting on an extrusion below the eye, a book waits to tell a story of limitless mutualisms. Functioning as both actor and spectator in its performance, the book discloses its authorship and narrative but only at the speed and whim of the reader. These books, on loan from local public libraries and randomly selected as they arrive from the distributors, are uncensored and not restricted to any particular genre. The reader reacts to these charged dialogues within this new frame of reference, relating to the author, the story, and the previous readers. Opinions, then, become synchronistic, as opposed to immediate actions: this transforms these spaces of solitude into moments of potential solidarity, motivating the reader to re-enter collective spaces as activists.
Each component of the room exists to express the inherent reciprocal relationship between actor and spectator, public and private, individual and institution, and real and virtual. Within these dichotomous networks lies the potential to reframe reality as a stage for self-actualization, restoring opinion to the individual from the institutionalized collective. Accompanied by the anachronistic actor of the book, the visual connection to the city through the eye, and the anchorage of the beacon, this frame for an experience of disconnection shifts the balance of the existing sociopolitical system.
Reallocating spaces in the city that advocate for a right to solitude and induce solidarity as its result paradoxically invents a new network: a new institution meant to deinstitutionalize today's architecture of advocacy.