Culture And Society
Work title: hack[PUBLIC SPACE]
This project proposesexploreshow an extended urban system may link physical locations and specific architectural interventions with digital connective media, so as to promote the renewal of alternative exchange economies. Assuming that public space is a hackable asset, one doesn’t have to question the existing city and the exchange flows that happen within it, but should rather make those work in novel ways. For the existing informal exchange networks to expand and become more representative, architects provide symbolic platforms in the form of easily movable inflatables. These would act as the visible nodes of a structured system that allows time-banks to become more of a viable alternative to money.
Money is an instrument of human construction created to facilitate exchanges. Mainly the exchange of goods and services. In a simpler way those exchanges exist since before the creation of money. Therefore, money is an information system that is a cultural creation not the natural way of things, although sometimes it can be seen like that.
The money system features some specifics which often lead to what’s usually seen as side-effects. Crises, hyperinflation, housing bubbles, to mention only few. Those are, however, inherent effects, which stand in the very core of the money system.
With the new instruments and flows available to us by the information age, can we revisit the times before money and rethink how our resources can be exchanged in more ethical and fructiferous ways?
In a world ruled by money we are accustomed to evaluate all things quantitatively. The time of all people is one of those things usually associated with a monetary value. It is more valuable as higher is the worker’s specialization degree and the market value of what s/he produces. We use to say “time is money” to justify our incapacity in leaving this system behind and look for other possibilities.
But time is something shared equally by everyone. We all have the same time, twenty-four hours a day, as long as we live. Could that be the basis of a new kind of exchange?
Money makes cities. Our urban areas are spatial reflections of the capital, that is to say, money flows according to economic trends and shape the private and public spaces.
If the legal tender features some problematic issues that can negatively affect society - being in that way unethical - one can easily think of our cities as an unethical set of public and private spaces.
In this scenario, public spaces are often neglected, becoming a consequence of real estate speculation. Is it possible to subvert this logic and somehow hack our public spaces?
We don’t need to destroy the old system, but to think how can we redirect some flows and boost others into a more desirable goal. We must use an hacking approach to intervene in the city system by building on it with the available resources like people, their time, and the public space.
In any given day, friends and acquaintances already exchange favours in the form of time, production or services and they do it independently of any system that organizes trades. But this absence of systematic organization makes it impossible that this informal network grows. A bigger network could create a viable alternative to many trades that we make through the money system - now through the freedom of our self-organized time. Time is not money, time is our lives.
To enable any form of activity we need to occupy space. The city has that space. How can our free/productive time relate in that way with the city? The public urban space should be the basis for a new platform capable of catalyze the cultural exchanges between people.
We propose the creation of: a new form of currency, directly associated with time as a way of stimulate social exchanges between people and the city; a digital platform to mediate this new relations, and; a physical platform to support all activities. One’s donated or credited time is counted by the system and can be exchanged in all physical platforms scattered on the city.
We can make a collective hack, a system within the city system, a new layer of abstraction that make what''s available to and from us in new and interesting possibilities.