Farzin Farzin: My Domestic Routines

One of six installations for the digital exhibition by winners of the 2022 League Prize.

Almost every aspect of our lives is now subject to regimes of monitoring. Using transportation infrastructures and accessing shared spaces requires membership and compliance with public—and, more often, commercial—digital network codes. From the biometric imprints taken at checkpoints to the vehicle tags needed to drive through toll booths, from the history-tracking smart cards of many mass transit systems to the constant video recording in public spaces and workplaces, our cities watch and track us. Increasingly, movement through the city has less to do with the quality, design, or program of urban spaces and more to do with the command and control systems connected to them.

But control systems are not only organizing cities, police actions, borders, and online behavior: They are also present in the most intimate aspects of our lives. The corollary to the self-monitoring of social media is the monitoring devices that have entered homes. Marketed under the rubrics of “smart living,” “health and wellness,” and “mindfulness,” these self-focused products offer tantalizing opportunities for consumers to disrupt their domestic routines and innovate their lifestyles. Taking the form of biometric data-collecting wearables, chirpy digital assistants, and fully integrated command and control systems tasked with monitoring security sensors and optimizing energy use, these products make digital-collar workers out of consumers whose data is sold to the highest bidder. Undoubtedly, these forces are reshaping domestic space. This exhibition explores how.

My Domestic Routines comprises a film and a physical installation. The installation displays a catalog of readily available smart products sourced from IKEA, Amazon, Google, and Wyze. A recursive routine connects these proprietary systems and casts them in a never-ending performance of detection and response. The film presents a composite image of Farzin Lotfi-Jam and his home rendered through the attentive vision of the smart home industry. It reveals how regimes of monitoring have produced a neurotic domestic subject simultaneously obsessed with seeking ever more representations of his domestic life while securitizing himself against the fears lurking in the American suburban imaginary. Our domestic routines may seem banal, even scripted and contrived. This exhibition captures a feedback loop between domestic desire, data collection, and the insidious possibilities of convenience.

Project team: Farzin Lotfi-Jam, Arseny Pekurovsky, Christopher Arya Rouhi, Allison Wenner

My Domestic Routines, All Probable Domestic Routines, Diagram.

My Domestic Routines, Exhibition Installation, Axonometric Drawing.