Understand: a new simple app, and some source code

Understand is a new simple smartphone application in which we publish a magazine entirely made of abstracts of great articles on the web.

It is also an easy way to create a magazine on smartphones using a WordPress Blog, with full source code available.

Here you can find the Understand on the Apple Store for iPhone and iPad.

Note: Please download it! we publish our favourite articles on it, and we also get a few coins from the advertisements, so that we can keep on doing beautiful things. :)

And here is the full source code for it, on GitHub: Understand on GitHub

You are free to download it and re-use it as you see fit. (For example, we are using it with our students to create a magazine).

Please read the instructions on the GitHub page, let us know if you do something with it, and feel free to participate!

Ubiquitous Commons: governance in the age of hyper-connectivity

(this post comes from our sister project, the Ubiquitous Commons: http://www.ubiquitouscommons.org/ubiquitous-commons-article-on-nova-24-on-il-sole24ore-governing-hyperconnectivity/)

An article has appeared today on Nòva 24 on il Sole 24 Ore, explaining the major concepts regarding the Ubiquitous Commons, as well as a series of scenarios on health, science, open access, privacy and the transformation of the concept of property.

The article can be seen in the print version of the newspaper on sale today (March 1st 2015) and you can see a preview in the scans below.

A series of accompanying articles (also accessible through the augmented reality application for Nòva24) can be accessed here:

The articles are in Italian, and they will soon be translated in other languages.

Here are some preview scans below:

Stakhanov: the BigData Oracle for a new era

From Wikipedia:

“In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to interface wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods.
The word oracle comes from the Latin verb ōrāre “to speak” and properly refers to the priest or priestess uttering the prediction. In extended use, oracle may also refer to the site of the oracle, and to the oracular utterances themselves, called khrēsmoi (χρησμοί) in Greek.
Oracles were thought to be portals through which the gods spoke directly to people.”
Stakhanov bigdata oracle

Stakhanov: our new religion?

Stakhanov is the BigData Oracle of the new era.
In the era of Data, Information and Knowledge, Stakhanov is the expression of our new global data-religion.
Stakhanov continuously harvests social networks for information and data, making connections, assumptions, correlations, using them to predict the future.
Line-by-line, it emits its verdicts about what will be and that which won’t.
Millions of people agree on the probability of a certain event? Fine, Stakhanov agrees, too, and it predicts it as a certain future.
You went running on the last three tuesdays, as documented by neat little maps published on Facebook? Well, Stakhanov predicts that you shall happily jog next tuesday, too: the gods-of-data say so.
This is the Word, coming from the Data-Above, in The Cloud.
A playful neo-religious data-invasion of privacy, false-hopes and the ingenuity in contemporary determinism.
Join us at the transmediale festival in Berlin from Jan. 28th to Feb. 1st, in Berlin, at the HKW to experience Stakhanov and a workshop on the Ubiquitous Commons, exploring the opportunities and dangers coming from the wide availability of ubiquitous data coming from our lives, relations, bodies and activities, and he ways in which we can turn this scenario to our advantage, as individuals and as a society.
Read more on the transmediale website:


NOTE: More detailed explanations about the concept, process and working details (including source code and data-sets) for Stakhanov will be published on Art is Open Source during the festival.

The Participatory Condition: Open Source Cancer. Brain Scans and the Rituality of Biodigital Data Sharing

Together with Alessandro Delfanti we have just finished writing a chapter on the forthcoming book “The Participatory Condition“, forthcoming on the University of Minnesota Press.

The chapter is titled: “Open Source Cancer. Brain Scans and the Rituality of Biodigital Data Sharing“, and it deals with La Cura project, which we created when Salvatore Iaconesi became diseased with brain cancer, and decided to turn the situation into a biopolitical performance interweaving hacking, society, anthropology and sciences.

From the chapter:

“While patient reclamation of the medicalized body is becoming a more common subject of discussion, by proposing the concept of the ritual we have here focused on the cultural significance of biodigital data: once liberated through hacking from their objectifying role in the context of medical institution, open source data provides a commons upon which new forms of digital solidarity can emerge.47 In doing so they can trigger public responses which enable collective reappropriations of the experience of cancer and other illnesses. Against techno-determinist ideologies, we also suggest that, by performing such rituals, members of digital countercultures—such as hackers—can turn to digital technologies, rather than only their bodies, as a battleground for the reconfiguration of social and political possibilities.”

The chapter will be featured in the forthcoming “The Participatory Condition“, a book resulting from the international dialogues originating from “#PCond. The Participatory Condition“, an International Colloquium held in Montreal at the Museum of Contemporary Art on November 15 and 16, 2013. The Colloquium’s main objective was to assess the role of media in the development of a principle whose expansion has become so large as to become the condition of our contemporaneity. The book is forthcoming and will be published in 2016.

The chapter, in an early, pre-release version, can be accessed at: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/0744f82b#

You can cite the chapter as:

Delfanti, A. and Iaconesi, S., “Open Source Cancer. Brain Scans and the Rituality of Biodigital Data Sharing,” in Barney, D., Coleman, G., Ross, C., Sterne, J. and Tembeck, T. (eds): The Participatory Condition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (forthcoming).



Human Ecosystems: Digital Urban Acupuncture in Journal of Community Informatics

The article “Urban Acupuncture in the era of Ubiquitous Media” has just been published on Journal of Community Informatics, Vol 10, No 3 (2014), Special Issue: Community Informatics and Urban Planning.

This is the abstract for the paper, presented in the Notes from the Field section:

Urban Acupuncture in the era of Ubiquitous Media

The concept of Urban Acupuncture as applied to a contemporary vision of cities, between ubiquitous technologies, social networks, sensors and cloud computing. From the possibility to listen in real time to the digital life of the city to the opportunity to design and implement novel models for participatory, co-creation practices for city governance, planning, culture, tourism, citizen activation.

The paper describes the construction process of a methodology and of the required set of digital tools which allow to enact Urban Acupuncture practices in cities with high numbers of social media interactions

Two case studies are included for the City of Rome and the City of Turin, showing two practical applications in the domains of culture and of multiculturalism, respectively.

The two cases have been performed in collaboration and with the support of the city administrations and, in the final remarks, they are used to produce an evaluation of the proposed methodology and a series of focuses for further research and investigation.


You can access the article here: Urban Acupuncture in the era of Ubiquitous Media

Cite as:

Iaconesi, Salvatore, and Oriana Persico. “Urban Acupuncture in the Era of Ubiquitous Media.” Journal of Community Informatics 10, no. 3 (2014). http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/issue/view/49.
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