acqua di piacenza

community and surveillance : belongingness as a tool of control 

with Sarah Guillemain, Ava Rastegar, Aurélien Raymond
Supervisor : Nicolas Gilsoul

Piacenza, 2027. Heavy rainfalls and rising water levels result in an unprecedented degree of pollution of the Po river. The United Nations Acqua mission aims to distribute depolluted water in exchange of community services. Water is being worshipped, its perception evolving from a destructive elemental power to a vital blessing. The urban water infrastructure is exposed in order to spread the belief system : fountains, water tanks, places of worship and processional walkways populate the land.

Particularly important in the acceptance of this new way of life, Il Capo is an initiation program dedicated to water awareness and community involvement. The project reinterprets the codes of the monastic cloister to propose an inward-looking confined space, isolated from its surroundings, magnifying water through its sensory design. Community life and education are organized around multiple atriums, whose physical and visual continuity stimulates socialization - and its commodification. Inspiring trust and encouraging positivity, the miscellaneous spaces sublimate the fleshly body through a multi-sensory relationship with the sacred fluid.

The public display of all actions turn the collective space into a place of permanent evaluation, fading individual privacy in favor of collective well-being. This voluntary reassessment of privacy erects control as an appreciable entity - the collective mass transcending individuality. Does surveillance become acceptable when it is operated by the monitored themselves?