For all the hesitations anybody may have, and for all the vulnerabilities even casual observers can readily diagnose in the chain of technical articulations that produces an augmentive overlay, it is hard to argue against a technology that glimmers with the promise of transcendence. Over anything beyond the immediate near term, some form of wearable augmentive device does seem bound to take a prominent role in returning networked information to the purview of a mobile user at will, and thereby in mediating the urban experience.
The thing is, most people in London are tired of life. You’ve only got to witness the queues in the Westfield multi-storey or the reaction to a crying baby on the tube to realise that this is a city which exists permanently at the end of its tether. People can live in London and be simultaneously tired of it, because – unlike in Mr Johnson’s time – London is no longer a few cobbled streets and a big old prison. It’s the last metropolis in a sinking country on a starving continent, an island within an island oozing out into the Home Counties like an unstoppable concrete oil spill.
The IDF’s strategy of ‘walking through walls’ involves a conception of the city as not just the site but also the very medium of warfare – a flexible, almost liquid medium that is forever contingent and in flux.