These are the engines that drive us and the gears with which we steer. The great online is the great outdoors, as you well know.
Perspecta 54: Atopia

FOMO-STOCK is a speculation commissioned by the editors of Yale University School of Architecture’s Perspecta 54: Atopia, Melinda Agron, Timon Covelli, Alexis Kandel and David Langdon.


Images by Common Accounts, 2021.

Find or fake or fabricate your family. Families are forever, and there’s a tribe here for you: a category of concern, a polis to people, a group to grow. Not one but many, all at once. All the more reason to join the crowd. Here, both/and is the feeling. Don’t take my word for it—take Google’s.


Floats and vessels and vehicles and cars and motors and gadgets and wheels have hit the pavement—digital and otherwise. These are the engines that drive us and the gears with which we steer. The great online is the great outdoors, as you well know. The other outdoors persists too: doubled, tripled, multiplied, no doubt by the explosion of pixels, portals, and platforms. Where there are clicks and bytes, there are also bricks and mortar. Vroom Vroom! Don’t dare miss out.

Parade of All the Feels.


With the prospect of 24-hr media oversharing, facial recognition, and social credit reports, emotional geo-spoofing is one way to evade unwanted suspicion, detection, and categorization. If facts are feelings, feel good knowing that there’s a synthetic face for you that never lets on how you’re really feeling. Artificial emo-physiognomy has catapulted to a new frontier. Infrared and LED arrays firing off a symphony of erratic signals can confuse surveillance systems, and the brain’s fusiform functions to mystify the world around you. And thank goodness for that. Emotions are an improvisation in the best of cases. Best not to get caught off guard.

Parade of Cancelled Personalities.


Like, Comment, Subscribe! Drag these problematic posters and sus influencers on this platform and all platforms. You’ll never forget how forgettable they are! B3h01d, the float of Cancelled Personalities. It spins round and round—babe, you’re spiralling. And so it is when your immediate future has already vanished into the past. Bi, den! And remember, if you stay cancelled, you don’t have to get cancelled.

Parade of Inhumane Divisions.


Divisions with disregard. Wheel them in, wheel them out—these floats come to town and split it in two. Catch a glimpse of what lies beyond if you can. Over there? Who knows? Over here, a hole-in-one. A handshake. An artful deal.

Parade of Uncertain Possibilities.


They come here to travel elsewhere. Set the light and mark the shot; now, feel the fantasy, darling. What’s a parade if not a transportation through time, space and myth?

Parade of Verifiable Truths.

Feelings may be facts, but this info is steadfast. Unequivocal truths on display—and seeing is believing. You have to reify your reality. Accept no imitations. I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me RAM. It’s plain: this much is true.

Parade of Eternal Smiles.


The marine deployed across the globe had a canine, a molar, a smile—on mug, in their portrait, in their file, in the best of times, and the worst, framed by Cheshire lips, embedded deep in soft, pink flesh. The most typical American way of confirming the soldier’s identity has been by means of crafty and detailed examination of dental records and recovered fragments, by matching fillings, root canals, bicuspids, and stains resigned to an indelible posterity. Other rituals, pertaining to the autopsy and return of the corpse, may now be setting a crushingly competitive precedent in techno-cultural ingenuity, but their prime market is still the military, while America herself is so prone to hold on to outdated traditions whose original designers are forgotten. So ingrained is the belief in an event such as burial as the proper way to make sense of an unorganized situation like decomposition, that when the average civilian finally meets the future, they won’t know what to do with all of death’s outputs, confounded as they’ll be by putrid scents and the latent promise of possibility.

Parade of the Middle Prefrontal Cortex.


A litany for the hesitant click, that extra millisecond which whiplashes your algorithmic alter ego. Let not your middle prefrontal cortex falter, nor the code pause. Without them, there would be nothing else to Cambridge Analytica the shit out of. You may try hard to develop an amnesia towards big-tech’s latest sin, but your algorithm has learned to smile and forget and operate your nervous system better than you’ll ever know. So, you let Siri do her thing.

Parade of Healthy Oceans.


Leave no wake as you cruise through my wettest dream: an ocean so deep, a future so blue; there is simply no you. Sentinel buoys—surfers on a wave—still float and bob with the promise of some cruel thing on some far-off shore, but here, the current runs cold in regulation of a secret system. Dripping in O2, lungs can’t receive what gills can breathe. This dream always ends the same way. You, swallowed up by the surface, lost to the bends / Me, by the depths, my weight descends.

Parade of Fabulous Capital.


FFFFZH-BEEEEEP-BEEEEEP-BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! Christine Lagarde was piloting one. So was, extraordinarily so, the automated port script. A satellite began to pan north-east as clouds were immediately and logarithmically removed from the live feed radius of Qingdao’s port. As the container dropped and Musk’s market value doubled, ISO techno-lords demanded an acceleration she couldn’t possibly have maintained. Lagarde’s crane edged closer and they all took one step back as they shorted, with clipboard in hand, one more sure bet.

Parade of Remote Rituals.


We need a carriage—a new cliché—with which to lift your heavy soul from here to the after-there. We need a rite to indulge the increasing frequency with which fact imitates illusion, and illusion imitates fact. Our gizmos and gadgets got us this far, and they’ll take us a little further. No, you are the gizmo, and this your mighty steed: an Evinrude on the Styx, revving you onward on entropy and fumes.

Parade of Solar Discomfort.


We’ll always have the forever summer of Kyoto, Copenhagen, Paris… It may have been December, but it was hot as ever. We wore our uniforms: our suits and ties and lanyards and tags. We wore it all begrudgingly, desperate to feel a chill touch on the skin. We presented our papers and consulted our notes and marked the pages laid out before us with occasional beads of sweat. More and more would drip, warmer and warmer as we were at every summit. It was that heat that gnawed at me, and in that sticky haze drove me to drown myself in coolant and you in the Seine.

Where there are clicks and bytes, there are also bricks and mortar. Vroom Vroom! Don’t dare miss out.


These texts pay direct homage to the godfather of the gizmo and eternal genius, Reyner Banham. We have deliberately built on his linguistic brilliance to form the foundation of many of the above texts. In inhabiting his narrative structure, we are offering both a look ahead and a reflection on the status of technology in daily life and the positivist attitudes that have foregrounded today’s late, late capitalist age. To that extent, he is an author in these texts, and we hope he’s not turning in his grave.

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Perspecta 54: Atopia