Anti-Drone Architecture


We recently covered one artist’s mission to create counter-surveillance fashion. Asher Kohn imagines Shura City, as “an architectural defense against drone warfare”:

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. Badgirs and minarets do their part to provide wild fluctuations of temperature (so that individual bodies are difficult to identify with infrared) and to provide high-wattage radio towers to interfere with wireless communication.

Brian Anderson elaborates on Kohn’s methods:

Drones exploit patterns–a worker’s daily walk to and from the fields, a child’s playful front-yard romp or, increasignly, a suspected militant groups’ late night caravan. Disrupt or confuse these pattern-seeking capabilites, the thinking goes, and you’re on your way to architectural cloaking. If you can’t rid the world of invasive aerial spy ware (because let’s be real), in other words, why not flip “technology, reorder, and arrogance”–the combination of which Kohn considers the empire’s greatest, most troublesome power–against the man?

“It is at best expensive and at worst impossible to build armor that can deflect any American bomb,” Kohn writes. “Shura City instead uses inscrutability as its armor.”

(Hat tip: The Browser)