African-Caribbean community in South London was a step behind on living standards and crime rate compared to the rest of the city some thirty years ago. Police over-controlling the area led to a general uprising in April 1981 known as the Brixton Riots or Bloody Saturday. In architecture-fiction Robots of Brixton (2011), Factory Fifteen re-enacts and updates those riots. The African-Caribbean community is replaced in the movie by robots “built and designed to carry out all of the tasks which humans are no longer inclined to do. The mechanical population of Brixton has rocketed, resulting in unplanned, cheap and quick additions to the skyline. The film follows the trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment. When the Police invade the one space, which the robots can call their own, the fierce and strained relationship between the two sides explodes into an outbreak of violence echoing that of 1981.” In the futuristic version, even if we can also watch human citizens around, both oppressors and protesters all belong to the robot race.
Another of their brilliant productions speculates with urban spatial scenarios subordinate to the pace of political power. In Megalomania (2011) Factory Fifteen radicalizes the grandiose structures resulting from capitalist ferocity that future societies will need to deal with. There are no citizens to be seen in these streets, and yet, building and demolitions keep on going just for the sake of it. “Megalomania perceives the city in total construction. The built environment is explored as a labyrinth of architecture that is either unfinished, incomplete or broken.” The city that is shown to us could be a decaying or a booming one. Are scaffolding and cranes maybe the actual building? What is the final architectural translation of human progress?
“We regard science fiction as an extremely powerful tool to voice and explore many subjects from design, environments and socio-political topics. Our projects are used to explore speculative situations and designs that echo real world scenarios.”