We are a community of academics and practitioners with an interest in modern experiences of making home; with a focus on agency, precariaty and the Internet of Things.
For many the idea of a private home in which to seek refuge from the world is unknown or at least constrained – the ideal of owning a home seems unobtainable. Standing’s identification of the Precariat gives us a vocabulary to talk about those who live precariously between short-term employment and variety of housing arrangements. Typically this might be rented accommodation, but includes those living and working nomadically on the move in trucks or hotel rooms, those living in mobile homes or on boats, etc. In terms of Brand’s Shearing Layers what opportunities are there to control the home environment, to assert agency? In the rented sector restrictive tenancy agreements makes only Stuff configurable.
We consider that the Internet of Things both challenges and opens new possibilities for people acting with agency at home; their ability to change the environment based on lifestyle, everyday routines, desires and needs. And we think this is especially true for the Percariat. Current commercially available devices, considered the Internet of Things, tend to embedded a Taylorist rationality that is largely at odds with the messiness of everyday life.
We are calling for a more human centred approach to the Smart Home.