Living in the box

Low budget capsule hotel
10 Jul 2016 - By Mr. Berqstrom

While searching the internet for relevant comparison to low budget living - in capsule hotels, I encountered the photographs by Won Kim. According to the website did Kim stay at this capsule hotels in Tokyo for several months. A number of the guests lived as permanent residents, "in a womb-like spaces that they call home". Kim has named the photo series; Enclosed - living small and you can find them here on Kims's webpage.

photo by Won Kim
Enclosed - living small, Source:
Won Kim, photography 

When I saw these photos it made me think about how the future is today, with realistic low budget solution for the future digital workers. Just ad Google Cardboard to the picture and a heavy internet connection and we're there!

The desert of the real - your future workplace
10 Jul 2016 - By Mr. Berqstrom

I would like to follow up on my thoughts connected to the book "Ready player One" by Ernest Cline, 2011. Cline presents the reader to a world where people mostly spend their time in the virtual world. Workers employed by big corporations live in capsules, whereas other "lone rangers" in virtual space, squatter around in the physical world for usable network connections. Thinking about this future scenario and what it might do to our society, have lead me to an understandment of a new social structure where anybody might have unlimited possibiities. A person living in a shack in the slums of Rio de Janeiro can be a superstar in the digital world, as long as there is a network connection.

To further spin this thought a little bit, I'm picturing the scene, "the desert of the real" as the location for the future workers first job- interview. How will this persons experience look, feel, taste or touch like, when the medium is no longer the message? Since I find words difficult to use explaining how the emotions in motion could sense like, when experiencing the desert of the real from å shack or capsule, I made in 2010 a digital artwork trying to touch upon such feelings.

EggCube artwork
The desert of the real, an inspirational artwork for the Virtual experience; Source: by Mr. Berqstrom
Audun Bergstrom, digital art, first published on 27 Des 2010 

Artistic inspiration for the capsule worklife
10 Jul 2016 - By Mr. Berqstrom

Since 2012, when I started working for a Norwegian manufacturer of builidng modules, I have been thinking about the connection between a modular lifestyle and technology. To summarize on this, I made a simple digital artwork. Perhaps extreme for some, but to me it ment thinking about; "how to plough a new mental field for technological development, intervened with housing and living. The artwork shows a place from a digital planet, far out in the digital space, where the module is presented togheter with robot- computers. I think this abstract fits quite well with the suggestion for a capsule lifestyle, for the future IT workers as presented below. Perhaps some of you already  see the connection between the capsule/ modular worklife, as an early step on the mission for humans to live in outer space and on other planets.

EggCube artwork, an inspirational artwork for modular design; Source: by Mr. Berqstrom
Audun Bergstrom, digital art, first published on 29 May 2013

Automatization and the virtual/ physical space
09 Jul 2016 - By Mr. Berqstrom

Lately, there have been articles about automatization and how it will affect people, their jobs, life and income. Up to 50% of todays jobs will be done by robots within 20 years, wrote the Swedish Foundations for Strategic Research (SSF) in 2014 (read the whole report here). So, if work as understood traditionally is no longer available, what will people do? Different movements talk about community engament, DIY- production, basic citizen salary and dozen more of examples of how this could work. One point made that stood out for me was history of work. Before the industrial revolution very few people had something we today would consider as work.

Anyhow, what if Ernest Cline was correct in his book "Ready player One" from 2011, where he describes the future as (where) people spend their time primary in digital space, instead of the physical world? Could the colonization of the virtual world with Oculus Rift/ Google Cardboard and virtual worlds, be the solution for the continuum of todays monetary policy with an infinite digital "printing press"? The consequences for ordinary people is described well in Cline's book. My question to this is, "if this future is any worse off for ordinary people, than what reality is for todays workers?" And if it is not worse, is it then better? The virtual world could be a place to escape for the poorest of society, but only if equiptment were cheap enough and connected to fast networks. Even so, I think the biggest effect of "colonization" would take place as bigscale virtual job- markets develop, providing for the digital workes to be better off than in the real world, as automatization takes over factory work.

SquatterWeb could help guide digital workers access to faster networks, as they trawl the city for no secure or easy hackable wifi, to get a good hotspot for their workshift in the virtual world. But how would people live and work, if a cardboard home is not an option? In Japan dense housing has generated interesting solutions to handle large quantities of people in small spaces. One example of this is the capsule hotel..

A capsule hotel is; "a type of hotel developed in Japan that features a large number of extremely small 'rooms' (capsules) intended to provide cheap, basic overnight accommodation for guests who do not require the services offered by more conventional hotels" (Quote from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

This accomondation exist with a wide range in comfort levels, but common for most of them is a nice bath with sauna and hot tubs. Summer 2007 I tried this concept in Tokyo (on an architectural studytrip to Japan). The experience was great, thinking of the fact that I was a student backpacking on a low budget. But it was first when I read Cline's "Ready player One", where this space was described as the future workers home and Office, I could think of this as an absoulutely possible scenario for the future. Here workers will spend their time in a capsule community, sharing the quality bath and canteen, only giving up on personal physical space, since time is anyhow spent in the virtual world. 

In other words, there is a potential scenario for future Google, Microsoft or Facebook worker to be connected from capsule- camps anywhere in the world. Here they will have the benefit from exclusive highspeed network connections, common playground for sparetime and other facilities seen as neccesary. While established IT- workers in Silicon Valley will stongly resist this kind of development, is it my point to make that "the capsule standard" is an tremendous upgrade for most people in the world, as long as the common facilities has an acceptable standard.

Google Cardboard: VR on the cheap. Photo: Google
Google Cardboard: VR on the cheap; Source:
Google Maps Street View becomes your virtual reality, article by Killian Bell, photo by Google 

EggCube photo         EggCube photo

EggCube photo
Capsule Hotel, Tokyo 2007; Source:, by Mr. Berqstrom
Audun Bergstrom, photography, first published in article at 09 Jul 2016