Last week I was talking with some collegues about those little jokes in models. For instance, in one model there are sharks in the marina. In another there's a tank parked in the parking garage. In jet another, there's a scale figure of a secretary having sex with her scale figure boss. If you don't know it, you probably can't see it. It's those little jokes that keep the model making fun for the people working on it.
In the same way, In a lot of my photoshop-collages ended up starring friends, teachers or celebrities. It's those little uses of ironic references that are basically for the joy of the designer - without adding too much to the story.
On the other hand, there's the inclusion of characters in architectural drawings that have an actual moral meaning. Take for instant the bakers' cart that appears in many of Jaap Bakema's drawings. It seemed to imply that the traditional social coherence of neighborhood life would still remain in his large scale building proposals. (note: this is not my analysis, but it's from the book "Mart Stam's Trousers" by Crimson).
So last week, I received an e-mail from Andrew from The Worst of Perth, about a post on their blog about the weird, apparently crotchless, semi-naked people in the billboard containing a rendering of the “Map of Tassie” on James Street Northbridge in Perth (Australia). I've posted the images here. The question is: what the hell is going on in these images? It looks like the building is populated with creepy Marilyn Manson-lookalikes. But what does that mean? I'm going to assume that it's not a moral or ethical position about the people that will be living there. It was probably the work of a render that didn't want to go all out on photoshopping the building - and just inserted some general computer-generated content.
That leads to the question: why on earth would somebody do that? No wait, I think I know that one: it's quicker. But why would anybody make a figure like this in the first place? My guess is that the designer of the characters went for a "neutral" look. But the rendering program made those "neutral" people look all creepy and naked.
And since those billboards for new buildings are all about giving off the right atmosphere and positive vibe (even the most dready buildings look like fun, the gardens are always green, the sun is always shining, the people are always smiling) - I doubt that this is the right vibe for this building. You might even argue that it's better to refrain from using people in your renderings if it ends up looking as like this. Or better yet: as long as computer generated content looks like this, I think it's wise to use other kinds of images for the foreground or the visualizations.
And for all the people that assume that those people are naked, with a darker spot in the crotch-area: you have a filthy mind! On the other hand: I think it inspired me to put some naked porn-stars in the back of my next rendering for a competition area. If smiling people give jurors a positive vibe of the project, I bet that naked smiling (albeit well-hidden) people give off the subliminal message that makes people love the building...