Webcam House II

The Webcam House Series posits domestic spatial organizations based on the boundaries of webcams and other telecommunication devices. In the 21st century, notions of public and private are altered by the visual transmission of interiors to a global public. These projects imagine how image projection and other realtime visual technologies reorder the domestic sphere.

The Jones family, like many, owns an oversized suburban home rapidly depreciating in value. They are long-time suburbanites with multiple cars, long commutes, and suburban ideals of neighborhood conformity. As nationwide tensions grow in the face of financial unease, the entire neighborhood steps up their usual glances at fellow suburbanites’ lifestyles to find local indicators of suburbia’s future.

More than 50% of America lives in suburbia. It remains popular, especially to populations new to the suburban lifestyle. Meanwhile, alternative employment models have made suburbia increasingly viable, as new generations telecommute and make friends online. Social networks are no longer limited to physical proximity, as employment and online communities collapse spatial barriers.

The Smiths, city dwellers since graduating from college, move to the suburbs for more space. They move into the Jones’ house that has been subdivided to comfortably accommodate two families. They share entry and circulation, but have private quarters. The Joneses, keeping their consumption conspicuous, divide their house into zones visible to neighbors through windows, and “blind spots”—places in their house invisible to prying eyes. The Smiths live in the Jones’ blind spots, satisfying neighborhood expectations, telecommuting and living a sustainable lifestyle. The Joneses, meanwhile, live in the Smith blind spots, just outside their webcam cameras, giving the Smiths a suburban equivalent online.

Related:
Webcam House I: Bicamera House
Webcam House III: Fourth-Wall House

 
Voyeurism is a well-documented aspect of suburbia, as evidenced by popular representations of peeping neighbors. (Left: Desperate Housewives, Right: American Beauty)
 
The suburbs have dramatically changed in the last generation, as house sizes have doubled and the demographics have become more heterogeneous.
 
The typical suburban site plan, with deep street setbacks but close neighbors, fosters voyeuristic tendencies.
 
The contemporary suburban home now offers two venues for observing your neighbor: the view from outside as well as the webcam image projected from inside the house.
 
The two view cones, one from outside and the other from within, form the separation between two tenants in a single suburban home.
 
The interior partitions are removed to make room for the split house within the undisturbed suburban house shell.