The smart city has become a new utopia. Visions of urban spaces that are digitally monitored and navigated in a near-totalizing fashion are presented as a way to perfect everyday life in line with consumer culture’s key tropes of innovation, efficiency, and endless growth.
»Post-Apocalypse Smart City Desert« is a prototype for an alternate type of smart city. Instead of optimizing processes, it utilizes digital technology for catastrophic doomsaying in the sense of philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s writing. Appropriating the QR code as an iconic element of smart cities, it connects trash cans – mundane and often unappreciated artifacts of everyday public space – to a digital space that hints at a post-apocalyptic scenario: After land has degraded into arid plains, trash cans remain in the sand as banal reminders of the inevitable materiality of consumerism.