The goal of this thesis is to raise questions rather than pose answers. It is a speculative peek into the near future; but that is not the main purpose of such a project. The prototypes should be understood as conversation pieces that expose some of the hidden assumptions of the new technology of interconnected things and the way it is appropriated in social technical situations, while presenting alternative trajectories to the ideas of “smart” objects. We generally think of smart objects as masters of efficiency, accomplishing the missions as quickly as possible. A Rube Goldberg[1] machine would turn this notion upside down (slide it and shoot it into the air…) creating a very sophisticated chain of actions in order to accomplish a very mundane task.

On the other hand, project will not give definite answers. Natural Fuse wonderfully illustrates the problem of the disaster of the commons, and tests our ideas about the capability of a networked urban commons. However it does not provide with direct solutions or answers. The objects or units in this project will operate as mediators that play an active role in the constitution of norms and values. So the goal is not to give an empathetic lead about where the Internet of Things is taking us in the future but to succeed in bringing up important questions that divert the discussion from the technological determinism to an open ended affair that becomes not only the concern of designers, architects, engineers but for all of us. European playwrights in the 1950s expressed what happens when human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down, alerting their audiences to pursue the opposite. The “Théatre de l’Absure” involved characters that are stuck in the routine daily life like automatons. They resort to nonsense language and clichés when words appear to have lost their original function, therefor creating misunderstanding among the characters. This project originated with inanimate objects living in a world of forces and gave those objects desires, autonomy, and the ability to take action. According to a system of rules, these units will live in their environment and evolve over time. Now I ask: What is each unit’s decision-making process and how can it adjust its choices by learning over time? How will the network be affected and what unexpected results can occur? What happens if the Internet of Things becomes a theatre of the absurd rather than a conventional smart environment?

[1] American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. (Wikipedia)