All posts filed under “Dystopia

Anti-teenager “pink lights to show up acne”

Anti-teenager “pink lights to show up acne”

In a similar vein to the Mosquito, intentionally shallow steps (and, superficially at least–though not really–blue lighting in toilets, which Raph d’Amico dissects well here), we now have residents’ associations installing pink lighting to highlight teenagers’ acne and so drive them away from an area: […]

The Convention on Modern Liberty

The Convention on Modern Liberty

Britain’s supposedly on the verge of a summer of rage, and while like Mary Riddell I am of course reminded of Ballard, it’s not quite the same. I don’t think this represents the ‘middle class’ ennui of Chelsea Marina. Instead I think we may have […]

Mosquito controversy goes high-profile

Mosquito controversy goes high-profile

The Mosquito anti-teenager sound device, which we’ve covered on this site a few times, was yesterday heavily criticised by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, launching the BUZZ OFF campaign in conjunction with Liberty and the National Youth Agency: Makers and users of […]

Learned down the gambling house

Learned down the gambling house

Michael Shanks’ Ten Things class at Stanford – which looks like a brilliant application of anthropological and archaeological thinking to design and technology – generated a very interesting project by William Choi and Antoine Sindhu analysing the architectures of control (psychological and physical) designed into […]

A vein attempt?

A vein attempt?

Blue lighting is sometimes used in public toilets (restrooms) to make it more difficult for drug users to inject themselves (veins are harder to see). The above implementation is in Edinburgh, next to the Tron Kirk. It was more difficult to see my veins through […]

BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

From the BBC: ‘Police play down spy planes idea’: “Merseyside Police’s new anti-social behaviour (ASB) task force is exploring a number of technology-driven ideas. But while the use of surveillance drones is among them, they would be a “long way off”, police said. … “The […]

Reversing the emphasis of a control environment

Reversing the emphasis of a control environment

Image from Monkeys & Kiwis (Flickr) Chris Weightman let me know about how it felt to watch last Thursday’s iPod Flashmob at London’s Liverpool Street station: the dominant sense was of a mass of people overturning the ‘prescribed’ behaviour designed into an environment, and turning […]

Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Last month I mentioned some fascinating details on planned obsolescence gleaned from a review of Giles Slade‘s Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Having now read the book for myself, here’s my review, including noteworthy ‘architectures of control’ examples and pertinent commentary. Slade […]

‘Anti-Homeless’ benches in Tokyo

‘Anti-Homeless’ benches in Tokyo

Images from Yumiko Hayakawa Yumiko Hayakawa has a very thoughtful and well-illustrated article at OhMyNews on the story behind the variety of ‘anti-homeless’ benches and architectural features (including public art) in Tokyo’s parks and public areas – by making it difficult or impossible to lie […]

Review: We Know What You Want by Martin Howard

Review: We Know What You Want by Martin Howard

A couple of weeks ago, Martin Howard sent me details of his blog, How They Change Your Mind and book, We Know What You Want: How They Change Your Mind, published last year by Disinformation. You can review the blog for yourselves – it has […]

‘Secret alarm becomes dance track’

‘Secret alarm becomes dance track’

The Mosquito sound has been mixed (sort of) into a dance track: “…the sound is being used in a dance track, Buzzin’, with secret melodies only young ears can hear. … Simon Morris from Compound Security said: “Following the success of the ringtone, a lot […]

Countercontrol: blind pilots

Countercontrol: blind pilots

In a recent post, I discussed a Spiked article by Josie Appleton which included the following quote: ‚ÄúPolice in Weston-super-Mare have been shining bright halogen lights from helicopters on to youths gathered in parks and other public places. The light temporarily blinds them, and is […]

Designed to control rather than enable

Designed to control rather than enable

As Cory Doctorow says, “Your home and life are increasingly full of devices that seek to control, rather than enable you.” That, succinctly, is what this website’s about: design as something to restrict and control the user, rather than empower and enable. Products that enable […]

Uninnovate – engineering products to do less

Uninnovate – engineering products to do less

Image from uninnovate.com I’ve just come across a very interesting new blog, uninnovate.com, which focuses on the phenomenon of “engineering expensive features into a product for which there is no market demand in order to make the product do less.” The first few posts tackle […]