Architectures of the Sensed

How can models render visible the increasingly opaque sensory infrastructures in the city? Moreover, under conditions of surveillance and control how could models understood as both 3D simulatory environments and experimental frameworks serve as augmented sites of resistance?

The project centres on the environs of Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood south of the Temple mount in occupied East Jerusalem. Expanding through the neighbourhood is the ‘City of David’, an interlinked archaeological excavation, tourism site, and Jewish-nationalist settlement project. Over the last three decades, Silwan has become one of the most entangled and densely surveyed areas in Palestine. From the underground to the skies, the volume of this site is networked with a myriad of sensory apparatuses, a dense constellation of electromagnetic computational media, central to ongoing processes of civil and military occupation.

While optical computational models are primarily used by state and corporate actors, they also offer new possibilities for resistance and processes of accountability. Drawing on local and global collaborations, this research seeks to explore the changing conditions of computational vision ‘in the wild’: its spatialization, the decision-making logics at its core, and the techno-social realities that form through and around its deployment. Spatial practice does not only produce model environments, as Caine proposes, it should be seen as offering a framework for the development of communities of practice. The site and the production of models not only offer the possibility for changed forms of visibility but simultaneously call for the development of methodologies for collective spatial practices of media. In this expanded sense, the model is an epistemological lens through which to critically engage with the complex interrelations between physical reality and the invisible infrastructural architectures of the sensed.