Intimacy & Distance: Andrés Jaque in Conversation with Alexis Kalagas


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On 29 March this year, Tinder users swiped 3 billion times globally, the most the dating app has ever recorded in a single day. At the exact moment when cities across the world were imposing open-ended lockdowns and strict social distancing measures in response to the spread of Covid-19, people turned en masse to virtual forms of interaction and connection: with family, friends, or strangers. From romance to work, dining to domesticity, the pandemic has supercharged existing trends towards the hybridisation of our online and offline worlds. But what does it mean when the boundaries between the physical and digital spaces we inhabit in a city begin to blur?

As the founder of the New York/Madrid-based Office for Political Innovation, Andrés Jaque’s provocative work explores architecture as the ‘trans-scalar’ entanglement of life, bodies, technologies, and environments. From the new forms of urbanism generated by location-based smartphone apps like Grindr, to the digital infrastructures that support and construct a transnational ‘Rolling Society’ of shared living spaces, his projects frequently apply a critical lens to the way in which architecture is mediated and mobilised through technology, including the role of the networked home as a potent social and political arena. Taking place fully online, this conversation will investigate the idea of social space in the ‘smart’ city, and how domestic does not mean disconnected.