Monday, May 03, 2010
To add unnecessarily to this year's particularly rabid pavilion season, here's our very quick and very dirty proposal for one. It's basically a giant version of iRobot's palm-size chemical robot, a new genre of robot that can roll around and squeeze into tiny holes by changing its state of blobbiness.
As it is funded by DARPA, it is being developed primarily with military application in mind. However, we are conceiving this soft pavilion for application in a different, though no less destructive, industrial complex: tourism.
Specifically, we're imagining several dotting a long stretch of beach. Fully inflated and firmly berthed on the sand, their occupiable interiors can serve a variety of purposes. For instance, they can be used temporarily as vending kiosks, changing rooms, trash collection site, lifeguard houses, beach security command center and, of course, sex rooms.
Embedded on their outer skin are sensing devices that constantly monitor environmental conditions. These external stimuli influence the dimensions and location of the pavilions, thus actuating a constant state of flux throughout the day, like the weather. No longer totally tethered to human agency, they adjust positions with the rising and ebbing of the tides, deform into a more aerodynamic shape against strong winds, deflate in cold temperatures.
There may be times, perhaps most of the times, when the pavilions are too slow to react during a storm or the occasional hurricanes and are thus tossed wildly about before they can burrow themselves safely beneath the sand or find a tight space to squeeze themselves in.
For the lucky few beachfront home owners, some pavilions might seek shelter in the company of others and in the process coagulate temporarily into a giant sandbag.
With the return of clearer skies and calmer winds, those pavilions that have burrowed themselves will emerge out of the sand, like geoglobules secreted by the earth, while the others will ooze out of their confined spaces.
Like a herd of tumbleweeds or a colony of amoebas, they will migrate together towards the shoreline, honing in on the sound of waves breaking, then instinctually retreating a few paces back when their protruding pseudopods touch seawater.
One could consider them a new type of “organism”, a taxonomic hodgepodge of flora, fauna, geology and architecture, encoded with new ethology to be played out in their newly classified biome.