NO (NO SMOKING)

Installation

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2008

Smoking has become a symbol of the conflict between individual freedom and collective responsibility. The cigarette is a reminder in a culture that aspires to share health care costs that one may not necessarily have the right to be self-destructive. Increasing efforts to reduce smoking and second-hand smoke in public places have created a new urban outlaw. Replacing the integrated lifestyle of smoking and drinking, eating, and working –the lone smoker now stands outside the “no-smoking” establishment as a tragi-comic icon of smoking’s last heroic gasp. Could architecture serve this band of outsiders? A system of interventions sprinkled around Amsterdam offers privileged spaces in which individuals could have a guiltless cigarette and connect to a smoker’s virtual city within the city. Private shafts of space attached to the exterior of “no smoking” locations act as chimneys that lift second-hand smoke above the streets. The smoker can enter with his/her face obscured, yet body on display under a building-sized dunce cap like the intransigent student of yore. Within, a smoke detector activates a touch screen connected with a private network when it senses the first drag. The smoker is able to communicate with others in similar locations throughout the city. The installation mediates the smoker’s conflicting status of villain and victim. (unrealized)

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