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“Architecture is a way to protect people when law chooses not to”

January 30, 2013

Drones work by detecting patterns, identifying individuals, and extracting data. I dreamed up Shura City (named in honor of Farah Jan’s photoessay on Quetta) to fight against drones with humanity and community. The city is a “black box” impenetrable to data miners and military-trained individuals but it is not a prison. It is instead a gated community, providing its society with sunshine and safety from the scary world outside.

It is at best expensive and at worst impossible to build armor that can deflect any American bomb. Shura City instead uses inscrutability as its armor, finding more solace in Said than in Vauban. Though its outer shell is fixed, Shura City’s inner walls can be moved to provide for growing families, heated feuds, or just for the change of it when Farah Abla decides she wants to be an interior designer. Its windows are protected by computerized mashrabiyas that blink and recombine into various QR codes to jam leering cameras. Its expansive courtyard is protected by latticework with backlit (by color-changing LED) windows that allow for sunshine for children and stars for young lovers, but also make face detection tricky with color blocks and changing shadows. The zebras know each others’ names, but the lion only sees stripes.

Read More | “Drone City” | Sepoy | Chapati Mystery