“If human society is conditioned by the capacity to speak, it is shaped by the capacity to be silent." Georg Simmel. Secret and Secret Societies
Considering the general mistrust in how personal privacy might be respected, considering the recent outbreak, whether real or felt, of a “civilization of the gaze”, a pan-optical society “contaminated” by the “rules of the spectacle”, as writer and psychoanalyst Gérard Wajcman describes it in his last book The absolute eye, the show-it-all, say-it-all extroversion is a clear indication of weakness. As a reaction, under-ground worlds, invisible or just discreetly lurking in the dark, re-emerge now as privileged fields for imagination and creation, as much as fertile ground for democratic resistance. Secret is the new strategy for imposing oneself.
EVOLUTION OF VALUES
DIVIDING UP THE 'OPEN PLAN' SOCIETY
The big outpouring, the over-exhibition and all-out unveiling of privacy (with blogging and social media), emptied the concept out. Today we're faced with narrowing borders between private and public spheres. The radical refocus on the intimate sphere continues. Itis time to divide up the open plan society, to reset physical or metaphorical barriers, and regain special time for oneself.
FROM HYPER ACCESSIBILITY TO CULTIVATED SECRETS
The demystifyingsee-through and the democratization of search tools make access to information easier, and tend to make everything visible, one click away, obvious. As a reaction, encoders, concealers and hiders find new, under the table ways: new disguise strategies, from the simplest to the most sophisticated and staged ones. Cultivatingsecrecy, coding language, tricking and feinting, elaborating treasure hunts... Many processes reintegrate mystery, enigma, suspense and drama in the experience, thus reshaping and consolidating the group's ('clan's'?) contours, as a new cement of society.
MERGING, A SUPREME LUXURY
Supreme luxury could very well lie in total invisibility, in our eye-controlled society. Media coverage of clandestine collectives and all other furtive wall breaking hacktivists point out new fantasies: those of restoring a form of active, powerful anonymous. Fading into the crowd, losing oneself into the One, Grand Design, without falling into thepitof idleness. In-between a radical desire to fully disappear and a wishfor more discretion, here comes the undefined, neutral, all-purpose, incognito design.
Shields or cocoons, physical or intangible barriers, sound and sight proof from all indiscretions, respect private life and breath a bit of mystery in. Secret codes, double-entry, and appearance / disappearancegames... With new techniques, the art of concealment gets a modern lift.
1. VSP-1 (ambient noise generator) by Yamaha.To make the disclosure of personal information at administrations, banks or pharmacies counters, a cosier experience.
2. Distance of Fog House by Studio Green- Blue. A triple weft filters and blurs out vision similar to looking though fog, while at the same time allowing the most natural light possible in, thus enabling intimacy to be preserved in a very busy Tokyo neighborhood.
1. SVK (Special Viewing Kit) by Warren Ellis: two-levels of reading comic strips where the hero's inner thoughts, UV ink printed, reveal with a special lamp.
2. Secret Stash by Yiting Cheng : concept furniture playing with the idea of concealing things at the workplace. Double wall, slim, ultra-discreet desk drawer and box.