MECHA_A38 (DI : A)

Dark_Invader, 2016 Swarm Infrastructure / Mecha DI>SI/M  




















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MECHA_A38 ///////// DARK_INVADER - Swarm Infrastructure / Mecha - DA>SI/M

Jason Vigneri-Beane <>

Project Statement

Dark Invaders : Forthcoming.


MECHA_A38 is the designation for the pilot prototype in the Swarm Infrastructure sub-series Dark Invaders. It is a mobile infrastructural module tasked with environmental information harvesting, signal boosting and relay, communications/public address and atmospheric influence. It includes multi-axis self-leveling footings, adjustable screens, signal boosting/information harvesting drones with pneumatic lift, optical calibration, heating/cooling units, atmospheric water harvesters and filtration tanks. It is a mobile nexus for the concentration and distribution for urban ephemera such was air flow, information flow, vapor and water, light, signal and symbol. It is both core and cloud.

The Mecha_A38///Dark Invader is designed to be deployed in urban environments and, in particular, in Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) in New York City. POPS are a special category of urban space wherein developers are granted variances on bulk regulations in exchange for providing an accommodation to the citizenry such as exterior spaces. While these spaces are public they are also privately owned. These spaces can be welcome relief or frameworks for profound tensions across fiscal and legal boundaries. They can become lovely and accommodating urban oases or sites of oppression that came to the forefront of public consciousness during the Occupy Wall Street movement. Increasingly, it seems that the tension is increasing as they become emphatically cleansed, secured, regulated and policed. While one perhaps understands the complexities of the global city one does not have surrender to the lack of expression, sense of homogenization and feeling of paranoia that now sadly surrounds the idea of public space in some globalized cities. The Dark Invader is meant to engage, in its own small and optimistic way, with this evolving scenario.

The Dark Invader would be deployed as a mobile, automated and responsive architectural agent with microinfrastructural capabilities. It can move about, deploy its drones, project its content and provide its small services to the public as it navigates these double-edged urban scenarios of opportunity and constraint. It would be a kind of fellow-traveler that can comfort people with climate and water, connect people with networking and messaging technologies and boost the voice of those who would like to relay a small message to a large collective.

The Mecha_A38///Dark Invader is conditioned by a hybrid purpose of providing Amenity, Connectivity, Stimulation/Disruption and Mobility. It is designed to be accommodating on the one hand and communicative on the other. It accommodates citizens with heating and cooling systems, connectivity through wi-fi drones, general and specific lighting at night and drinking water throughout the twenty-four hour cycle of urban public space. These are small, informal, personal and hyper-local amenities that are sponsored by the Dark Invader in its role as a swarminfrastructural entity. At the same time, it also intends to broadcast imagery, information, artwork and real-time content received from passers-by. The idea is that citizens could have a voice in the systematized and regulated territories of contemporary urban space by texting content to the Dark Invader via mobile devices or positioning material within the visual field of camera ready drones. The Dark Invader is, however, polite and, due to its mobility, it can arrive and depart from properties in such a way that is neither dependent on nor subject to the locked-in regulatory protocols of those Privately Owned Public Spaces. The drones it is outfitted with are even more transcendent of the highly regulated terrain of urban life.

Amenity: As a micro-infrastructural entity it has heating/cooling equipment and drinking water tanks to provide comfort to citizens of the stone deserts that Privately Owned Public Spaces tend to be for the purposes of maintenance and security. It has fixed lighting mounted to its upper mechanical rigging as well as mobile lighting housed in its drones.

Connectivity: The Dark Invader is equipped with pneumatic wi-fi drones that can dock to recharge and circulate in a near-field radius around the location of their Dark Invader base station. As mentioned above, the drones can also provide additional lighting to public spaces for accommodation as well as for the purposes of lighting content that citizens may wish to transmit to the Dark Invader via the cameras in those drones. In addition, the Dark Invader can receive content from mobile devices for projection on its screens.

Stimulation/Disruption: The Dark Invader’s most public mission is to simultaneously deliver information and artwork and to give voice to citizens within its near-field radius. Information and imagery projected by its automated and adjustable screens could be a range of curated artworks to live-streaming broadcasts to peer-to-peer/peer-tocommunity communications from passers-by. The Dark Invader may just provide non-commercial communications that seem to be increasingly marginalized in Privately Owned Public Spaces and, for that matter, many public spaces of borne of corporate globalization.

Mobility: The Dark Invader has three forms of mobility. The first is the mobility of ideas that is fostered through communications and projected content. The second is the mobility of the Dark Invader itself that is made possible by its robotic quadrapedal base that allows it to arrive and depart from properties in an independent and potentially nonconformist way. The third and airborne form of mobility is the way in which its four drones can circulate in short-term near-field patterns of flight to deliver and receive content from citizen-users while providing them with wi-fi and lighting.