client: Blank Space
realisation: 2018, prijsvraag
program: Architecture Storytelling Competition
Belle, UNIT 072A, room X7
L: Hello, I am Luxi, your new personal diary companion. I am a virtual assistant developed by the children wellness department of unit 072A. First of all ‘congratulations’, you have reached the age of beginners level. With me, you will explore your emotions and thoughts on a daily basis in order to mature your emotional and social behaviour.
Today, it is your first day, so you will help me to create your profile based on a pre-established questionnaire. The following days our relationship will progress freely, depending only on your wiliness.
So, let’s begin. Tell me about you.
B: (heavy breath) Hello. I am Belle. I am thirteen years old. I am sorry, I don’t really know what to say.
L: Don’t worry. It is normal. Can you start by describing one day of your daily routine?
B: (smile) Yes, sure. Well, I am very happy that everyday RUFUS, my health companion, wakes me up at 7.00am. He is very funny and useful. He does my entire body check-up, such as measuring my heart rate, pressure, mood and takes a small blood sample from my finger. Then, he tells me some jokes while he connects with my room to change temperature, colour and light based on the results. Sometimes I am feeling very tired in the morning, so my room becomes very light and colourful with uplifting songs, and I wake up immediately.
Afterwards, I go to our living room where the 3D food processor has already prepared my meals for the entire day. It knows precisely the right percentage of nutrients and calories for my needs. The food is so healthy and delicious!
Then I can really start my day. Normally I prefer to do some sports in the morning, to become more active for the rest of the day. Regularly I invite some friends over to my living room. It is incredible how many people can fit here if I ask it to enlarge. We workout and study together with our virtual teacher during almost all day.
In the evening I normally like to meditate in the exterior balconies. It is so nice to feel the outside air and contemplate this wonderful landscape. I could be there indefinitely. I really like to see the birds and listen to the animals’ sounds. It just makes me feel so complete.
At the end of the day I always return to my room, where it already shrinked to the size of a human nest, and created the perfect light and temperature conditions to achieve the maximum deep sleep hours rate. I feel like a little bird. It is so cosy.
L: I understand that you really enjoy living here. But you didn’t mention your parents. How is your relationship?
B: It is true, I totally forgot. Well, our relationship is amazing. Since nowadays robots do all the labour work, everyone is able to do what they like, from the comfort of their homes. As consequence, we are always together and have built a very close relationship.
My parents always teach me new things, and I am so enthusiastic about their work.
My mother is a great artist. She is now starting a new interactive art collection about intergalactic relations.
My father is a biology researcher. He is currently developing a thesis about algae cells. He wants to create a new type of 3D food grain, based on algae cells that are nurtured by carbon dioxide. That means that we eat our own waste. Like a cycle!
I feel so inspired by them.
L: Do you often go outside this unit?
B: Yes. Sometimes Dad lets me go with him to the W (underwater) units to bring some algae samples. I really like the feeling of tele transportation. It is like a very cold sudden breeze that makes you close your eyes, and when you open them, you are in a completely different place. Once there, W units have a very different felling because they are always floating and moving through the ocean. We can have much more different views compared with A (air) units, which are fixed. In fact, I am thinking of convincing my parents to move out to a W unit. I know that they are always more overpopulated but since our buildings are flexible, the community inside can grow.
L: Just for curiosity, would you say that you prefer tele transportation or virtual calls?
B: To be honest, the interaction between people is the same. I can precisely see and listen to the person in the same way as in a virtual call. For example, last year my mother had a severe illness so she was always in her room. As we cannot enter each other’s room, I could only talk with her by virtual call. I was very relieved because her room was providing her all the supplies to recover soon. Fortunately, in one month she was back to normal, and I didn’t feel her absence at all.
I would only say that I prefer tele transportation because I can see many different views and places of the world. In a while I can be anywhere. And nature is so rough and primal, both underwater and in land. You can watch animals wondering around, hunting and nourishing their cubs under the most beautiful sunset.
I think it is amazing that our buildings can operate where previously no one could live. We have a privileged view of the world.
L: You do these tele transportations mainly with your father. Would you say that he is the person that understands you the best?
B: No. Mom and Dad are the same to me. But I did have a special relationship with my grandfather. I haven’t seen him for a while though.
L: Do you want to talk about that?
B: (deep breath) Yes. (pause) My grandfather was always the one that showed me the pleasure of contemplating nature. But I guess he could never get used to our units. He is from the time when humans lived in lands and destroyed all nature. Even though he knew that our current buildings are self-sufficient and much more eco-friendly, he could never stop thinking about returning. Two years ago he escaped from our unit. There was a red alarm, everyone was crazy and screaming. I was so confused that I didn’t immediately understood what happened. Then Mom told me. Some people say he was eaten by animals and plants, others say he was swallowed by the earth. I hope he is fine. The electronic bugs (police) continue looking for him outside.
L: What did he usually tell you?
B: Well, the most amazing stories. He told me he used to go swimming on the beach with his friends. Can you imagine? It should be amazing. Sometimes, when I am with Dad in the W units, I try to see myself in the other side or the glass, swimming with the fish (enthusiastic breath).
He also used to have a dog. He says he was furry, like the bears we see from here, and used to lick him with a very long and sticky tongue. I cannot imagine that sensation. Gross! (laughs)
L: Very well, we are finishing our meeting. One last question. If you had super powers, what would you do in your life?
B: (long pause) Ok, this may sound absurd, but I have to say. I would love that, even for a second, I could go outside and touch an animal. I wonder so many times if it is soft, rough or sticky. But maybe it is a bad idea. Sometimes I have this feeling, but then I became totally afraid. Mom says that outside is dangerous. Also, I learned from my teachers, that if we interfere with outside ecosystem we will destroy it as we did before. So I guess I will continue to contemplate.
L: Thank you Belle. It was great talking with you. You are a great kid. I am now sending a report to your parents and control system. Tomorrow we will continue with our meetings.
« Report conclusion:
WARNING! Possible future escaper. Need to start therapy immediately.»