InTheMiddle Studio

The airplane mode hotel
The work was completed for An Architectural Fairytale Competition hosted by Blankspace.
Airplane Mode Hotel takes place in a future urban setting where the rapid expansion and consumption of technology, results in new ways of living.

The city is observed through the eyes of DATA (the character of technology). DATA has endless knowledge, understands how complex systems work, and can track the most specific detail... Except in what is know as the Airplane Mode Hotel.  The Hotel is cloaked with a fara-day cage facade of copper. The building is know as the last physical public space; people flock to the build due to its isolation from technology (and DATA). DATA roams through the future city hoping to discover what is behind the undetectable walls of the Airplane Mode Hotel. Eventually finding the liberation that comes with meditation and deep human contact.

We invite you to read the story below :) (1500 words)

In the beginning there was no DATA.  

In the beginning, as we all know, there was PERSON, or at least that is how the story goes.

PERSON made more PERSON(s) and those PERSON(s) made more PERSON(s) and so on and so on.  

Eventually PERSON became smarter, fitter, faster, stronger, and filled their heads with logic.  PERSON created houses, castles, skyscrapers, cities that were always moving and changing. It was a time when PERSON could do anything. However, PERSON were not happy, and longed for more. PERSON searched in all the cracks and crevasses. They searched the depths of the oceans with things that whirled under the water, and explored the boundless heavens, with things that whooshed through the sky.  Up and down and all around they looked, but could not find.  Unable to discover the things for which they looked, PERSON went to work on fabricating something instead. PERSON called this creation DATA.  In its beginning, DATA was small, scared, and knew little of the world.  However, very quickly it learned about houses, big and small, it understood castles and skyscrapers, inside and out, and it was able to create cities quicker and more grand than PERSON.

DATA could speak, read, write, and create all over the world, from the pits of the oceans to the highest mountaintops. DATA could do it all, and eventually was involved with everything PERSON did.  Though PERSON were thankful for DATA, they sometimes became annoyed or overwhelmed by DATA always poking and prodding into their lives.  So PERSON created a place where DATA could not go, a relaxation space where PERSON could hang out with PERSON.  DATA only knew of this place as THE TOWER. Though DATA had it all, it was very jealous of THE TOWER, for it too wanted a place to relax, and hang out with its friend, PERSON.

THE TOWER was a dead zone, a white vacant space which DATA could not access. Curious about the void, DATA needed to uncover the secret. DATA had to figure out a way inside. One night, while the city was asleep, DATA ran along the fiber optic wires that held the city streets together. Meandering through the sewage lines outfitted with leak control sensors, DATA made its way into the apartment through the speech-to-text software installed in the toilet.  Once in the apartment, DATA snuck onto the I-bed™ equipped with climate SLEEP™ control and Dreamdesigner© programming. Disguised between the notes of ambient music pouring out of the in-pillow speakers, DATA uploaded itself into the ears of an unsuspecting PERSON.

Inside the human mind, DATA began to poke around and experience what it was to be PERSON.  Running along the nerves of the body and jumping freely from cell to cell, DATA learned what it was like to feel, smell, and hear.  DATA opened its eyelids and cringed as the light flooded in through its dilated pupils.  Instinctively, DATA shouted: WARM! PLAIN! HAT! The automated wardrobe machine (AWM) started to select and prepare an outfit based on the criteria that was given only moments earlier.  DATA was stunned, not merely because the bed had morphed and moulded to place its body in an upright position, but by the sensation of speaking for the first time.  

It was mesmerized by the air that moved back and forth within its throat.  The AWM dressed DATA as instructed with an outfit that was warm, plain, and included a hat. As the fabric moved over DATA’s arm, the fibers tickled and teased, leaving a cobblestone path of standing hair in its wake.

DATA found the exit easily. Using its body weight it leaned into the apartment’s ageing oak door to dislodge it from the sunken frame. DATA stepped out into the city… the movement, sounds, and smells overwhelmed its newly formed senses. Forgetting to let go of the door handle, DATA felt pain as its muscles were offset in a peculiar direction.  With its eyes, DATA tried to follow the multitude of service androids and camera drones that scuttled along an intricate mess of fiber optic wires woven into a web.  The surrounding building facades morphed and changed as a flavored cola commercial switched to a public service announcement warning of the risks associated with drinking flavored cola. The city’s odour made DATA’s nose cringe, as it inhaled a combination of sterile sidewalk cleaning agent and dog excrement, roasting on a token patch of grass.  Letting go of the door handle, DATA descended the mid-century stone steps onto a moving sidewalk. The sounds of the city attacked DATA like a swarm of deranged bees. The whirring sirens of the bi-weekly fire hydrants test and the drone of the hydraulic garbage removal bots nearly brought it to its knees.  DATA could not understand how PERSON could live like that, surrounded by so much commotion and distraction. However, just as this thought came to DATA, it was sucked away as if the garbage-bot had removed it from its head.  

DATA had spotted THE TOWER at the very end of the street. However, THE TOWER was no longer white vacant space, on the contrary it was a warm copper building that reflected the sunlight beautifully.  The ceiling was copper, the cladding was copper, even the concrete that ran the perimeter of the building reflected copper. As DATA approached the edge of the copper building its eyes fell upon a sign that read Fara - Days. Brushing by the copper curtains that hung at street level, DATA entered a room full of PERSON(s) that looked different than those it witnessed outside the building.  These PERSON(s) were conversing, laughing and generally being PERSONable.

Within THE TOWER, there were no fiber optic webs, no bots, no media, no step-counting devices - no electromagnetic waves to meddle the mind.  DATA noticed an elevator at the end of a long, narrow hallway; it walked over and into the lift.  The lift went up and up and up…and up some more, until DATA thought it broke through the atmosphere and was floating in space. As the elevator slowed, DATA noticed a sign that read:

“Once at the top please turn around and lean back.  Don’t worry we got you.”

                                            Sincerely – The Management

The elevator stopped and the door finally opened, DATA turned around and leaned back, further and further, its toes releasing from the cool concrete floor. Yet DATA did not fall. The laws of science suspended, DATA descended slowly into a warm, still pool of water. DATA peered up and traced the rays of sunlight across the sky. In this moment, DATA felt nothing, its once buzzing head laid still, its jealous thoughts non-existent, like an entire city stopped dead in its tracks.  There were no smelly smells or noisy noises, or lights in its eyes. There were no calculations to be made, cities to run, maps to draw out, or information to seek and deliver. As it floated in the warm water, DATA understood how long it took for the light from the sun to meet the edge of the glass window, it knew all of the many refractions and reflections that took place as that light penetrated through the glass and into the room, and it knew that, in any given moment, ±6300 PERSON(s) queried, “how much direct sunlight should I get everyday to stay healthy?”. However, DATA did not care. On top of the Fara - Days, hundreds of metres above the chaotic city, DATA lay unplugged from PERSON(s) and from itself. With no thoughts of its own, or constant relay of information, with only the warmth of the sun on its face and the weightlessness below its body, DATA was still, something it had never experienced…nothing...and that was okay.


Kent Mundle
Matthew Rajfur
Angela Rajfur
Dale Wiebe