“Walk Toward The Heart of The City. If the city has no heart, give it one.”

This quote is one way to describe the purpose of Mark Shepard’s new Serendipitor Iphone App, which premiered August 29th in  the U.S. Pavilion exhibition, Spontaneous Interventions, at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale. Designed for the “near-future,” when finding one’s way from point A to point B will no longer be a problem, Serendipitor is an alternative navigation app that helps you find something by looking for something else. By plugging in starting and destination points, Serendipitor offers alternative meandering routes. The app attempts to help you “maintain consciousness of what happens along the way”, possibly enriching your experiences along your route.

Serendipitor is part of Shepard’s Creative Capital-supported project, Sentient City Survival Kit, which assumes in the near-future that marketing and surveillance technologies will pose increasingly invasive threats to our privacy. The kit contains accessories for urban life that are able to destabilize these intervening technologies. Among the objects are sensory underwear that alerts the wearer of unforseen privacy breaches including data sniffing used for marketing purposes. The kit contains a travel mug that creates an ad-hoc “dark” network to bypass mainstream networks, which – in the future –  give you access based on credit ratings and marketability. There is also an umbrella enabled with infrared LED lights on its surface that confuses and distracts surveillance cameras. Shepard also offers a parts list, circuit diagram, and source code so that anyone can create these objects for daily use. The survival kit examines our privacy in the urban environment and comments on the role and possible dangers current technology could develop.

View Shepard’s “Quick Start” video to see these surveillance combating tools in action:



Sentient City Survival Kit – Quick Start Guide from mark shepard on Vimeo.

Visit Mark Shepard through Creative Capital here.

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