In the 1960s, a young generation of architects countered the strictly defined and determining residential program of modernist houses and apartments with alternative utopias of space and living. The Taylorist rectangularly calculated interaction of living people and houses as living machines gave way to bubble-like round forms made of plastic, whose unusual appearance conceals new functions: the inflatable Yellow Heart (1968) by Haus-Rucker-Co ultimately serves to expand consciousness; it promises nothing less than alternative forms of relaxation, a new experience of nature, and happiness.
If the goal of the transparent protective cocoon into which the Yellow Heart invites its users is to expand their worlds of experience and consciousness, the contemporary smart home tends to relieve the consciousness of its occupants, with digital assistance systems more or less gently tyrannizing them out of all decisions about how to shape their everyday lives. The living machine, which had to be kept running by humans, becomes a mind machine as a decision-making machine, which, if coupled with an AI as in Alex Garland’s film Ex Machina (2015), can even develop an autonomous “mind”.
But it doesn’t have to stop at the seemingly gentle tyranny of the smart home, which decides when it makes ecological sense to turn off the heating and turn on the lights. After all, the controlling “brain” of the home is always networked with much larger electronic “brains,” which in turn can evaluate all the data produced by the living person and use it qua predictive analytics. Thus, the careful paternalism of a (self-)conscious house can ultimately become part of a machine-controlled tyranny that does not strengthen human consciousness, but dismantles or completely removes it.

Cornelia Lund
Kunst- und Medienwissenschaftlerin sowie Kuratorin. 2011/2012 Vertretungsprofessur für „Kunst.Ästhetik.Medien“ (FH Düsseldorf), derzeit Mitarbeiterin in einem DFG-Projekt zum Dokumentarfilm (Universität Hamburg). Lehrt zudem Designtheorie an an der HAW Hamburg. Ko-Herausgeberin von Post-digital Culture (2015;

Holger Lund
Kunst- und Designwissenschaftler sowie als Kurator und DJ. 2008–2011 Vertretungsprofessur für Theorien der Gestaltung (Hochschule Pforzheim), seit 2011 Professor für Mediendesign (DHBW Ravensburg). Betreibt das Vinyl-Label Global Pop First Wave (

Zusammen leiten sie seit 2004 die unkommerzielle und unabhängige Medienkunstplattform fluctuating images e.V. (Berlin), gemeinsam sind sie Herausgeber von Audio.Visual – On Visual Music and Related Media, Stuttgart 2009 (Arnoldsche) und Design der Zukunft, Stuttgart 2014 (avedition).