Second Nature

“… societal preference for ‘fake’ aesthetics over ‘ugly’ reality. By thinking of this as camouflaged or ‘fool’s gold’ architecture, and framing this as a socio-economic phenomenon, it becomes possible to consider its significance as an artefact of the twentieth and twenty-first-century life. What might these structures say about the increasingly blurred boundaries between authentic and inauthentic environments and experiences, and a collective willingness to suspend ‘reality’ in favor of ‘hyperreality’ (to borrow from Baudrillard and Eco)? What meaning (if any) can be gleaned from the history and design evolution of these structural camouflages, and what might this suggest about approaches to architectural disguises of the future?”

Amy Clarke, Faking Authenticity with Fool’s Gold Architecture

With the uprise of mobile devices, the infrastructural needs of the telecommunication industry have exploded and since the 1980s, antennas have started to fill the cityscapes. The scenery changed dramatically when the company Larson Camouflage transformed the first antenna into an artificial pine tree in 1992. Since then, this method of camouflaging antennas has developed into a global business. It is an interesting fact that Larson Camouflage worked for Disney before this detour into new business waters. It is, therefore, necessary at this point to speak of Disneyfication, a term that has had a certain tradition in sociology since the early 1990s. Put simply, Disneyfication can be used to describe the consumer-oriented transformation of the environment into a spectacle. To this day, Disney is one of the entertainment industry’s top-selling companies and has contributed significantly to the global spectacle with its products, films and theme parks. Jean Baudrillard writes in his essay Simulation, “Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyper-real and of simulation”. Baudrillard’s observation that the relationship between simulation and reality is radically twisted in California points to an important process in our perception.