Playing with Data: Ubiquitous Commons at King’s College in London

Come with us on June 3rd for a performative, full day workshop at King’s College in London in which we will experiment just how much data we generate as human beings, citizens and members of communities.

Register here!

Using the Human Ecosystems we will learn how to use this data in useful, positive and ethical ways, and how to regain control in deciding how this data should be used, through the Ubiquitous Commons.

These are the details for the workshop:

Workshop title: “Playing with Data in the Ubiquitous Commons”

Held by: Salvatore Iaconesi  and Oriana Persico

When: 3 June 2015 – 10:00-18:00

Where: King’s College London (Strand)

Playing with Data in the Ubiquitous Commons is a  day-long performative workshop using Human Ecosystems–a series of technologies are combined to harvest and analyse public data. We will explore our collective data to gain insight on the flows of communication, information, knowledge exchange, and of the patterns for emotional contagion. Together participants will use techniques such as Natural Language Analysis, Geo-referencing, Machine Learning, Network Analysis, and various Computational Sociology techniques to gather information about the communities in the city, including the places, locations, times, topics, emotions, opinions which they express, and the social architectures which they describe. Outputs will range from a series of research insights; interactive visualizations or installations; game concepts to be enacted with different communities; models for community engagement, and their testing through playful modalities; the description and enactment of meaningful urban rituals which promote public, inclusive collaboration and participation to city life under one or more issues.

The workshop is an interdisciplinary, critical and playful approach to our material assemblages as data-subjects; that is, our ubiquitous data and information generation, which express relations, emotions, locations, opinions, behaviours and the potential inferences therein. Participants will collectively explore the data and present insights. People of all levels of technological expertise are warmly welcome.

Salvatore Iaconesi is an interaction designer, robotics engineer, artist, hacker. TED Fellow 2012, Eisenhower Fellow since 2013 and Yale World Fellow 2014.

Oriana Persico holds a degree in Communication Sciences, is an expert in participatory policies and digital inclusion. She is an artist and writer and she currently teach Digital Design at ISIA Design Florence.

Register here!

Ubiquitous Commons at Cyber Resistance, in Milan

Time again for Cyber Resistance at Il Cantiere in Milan, in April 10-11 2015.

This year we will talk about the Ubquitous Commons: how to claim back your data from online services, and decide how it should be used.

The Ubiquitous Commons is an international research effort dedicated to understanding the transformation of data, information and knowledge in the age of ubiquitous technologies.

It is creating a legal and technological toolkit which will allow people to claim back the information which they constantly and ubiquitously generate during their daily lives through social networks, online services and network-connected devices, and to decide how this data should be used.

Visit the Ubiquitous Commons website to know more about the project.

During Cyber Resistance we will present a first concept prototype of the Ubiquitous Commons, under the form of a browser plugin which allows you to encrypt your data online, and to use the BlockChain to define licenses for it.

You can learn more about the plugin at the Ubiquitous Commons website.

At Cyber Resistance we will be together with: Obaz, Les Liens InvisiblesJasmina Tešanović and her Casa Jasmina as well as the Hacking War Songs performance, Bruce Sterling reading Antonio Caronia, Verde_Giac, Vecna, Riccardo Falcinelli and Benedetto Vecchi.

Ubiquitous Commons at NetFutures 2015

this news article appeared on the Ubiquitous Commons website.

A preview of the Ubiquitous Commons first prototype has been presented at the NetFutures 2015 event held in Brussels, during the CAPS concertation meeting, for the special topic regarding Distributed architectures for decentralised data management.

This, below, is the presentation used at the event:

During the event the first prototype implementation has been released for the Ubiquitous Commons first concept, featuring a browser plugin which allows data-subjects to apply their own licensing schemes to the content they produce online, and to create shared, collaborative dynamics around people’s data and information.

the Ubiquitous Commons reference diagram

the Ubiquitous Commons reference diagram

Ubiquitous Commons presented at NetFutures 2015

Ubiquitous Commons presented at NetFutures 2015

Ubiquitous Commons: governance in the age of hyper-connectivity

(this post comes from our sister project, the Ubiquitous Commons:

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, a BigData god, predicts human futures

Stakhanov is a BigData god.

It is a reflection about the role which we, as human beings and as members of society, are attributing to data, information and algorithms.

Stakhanov installation

Stakhanov installation

Stakhanov captures public information from millions of people on social networks, and searches for patterns through it, using people’s locations, emotions, topics of interests and relations.

When it finds these patterns, it uses them to make predictions about people.

Predictions about where people will be, about their emotions in certain contexts, about at what time they will be doing which activity, about who they will relate with, or who they will be close to in space.

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.

Stakhanov prints out predictions

Stakhanov prints out predictions

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.

During transmediale’s opening ceremony, Stakhanov gave a short speech which was generated by capturing all of the relations which the festival established in the past 3 years on social networks with thousands of people. The topics and emotions expressed in all of the social network conversations captured in this way were processed using natural language analysis to attempt a prediction on the possible topics for the festival’s next editions, and to express the major concerns and interests of the transmediale’s audience and reference communities.

Here is what came out:


Here are some images from the exhibit:

In the exhibit, a series of prints showed Stakhanov’s cosmology.

Stakhanov is a wordplay between Alexey Stakhanov, the epic russian mine worker who became famous for breaking all production records, and the Stacks, a term described by Bruce Sterling to indicate how we are not really using Internet anymore, but a series of Stacks, closed ecosystems owned by large corporations, such as Fecebook, Google, Amazon or Apple.

Thus, Stakhanov is the god using the Stacks to continuously and constantly mine people’s information, to produce the future.

We can use the images below to understand more about Stakhanov’s cosmology.

Stakhanov's cosmology 1

Stakhanov’s cosmology 1

In this image, we see how human beings live in the Socialis Continuus, in which we are ourselves, with our identities, relations, emotions.

We are influenced by Stacks, large corporations which now largely control how we access the Internet, and which also define large parts of the ways in which we relate, are fulfilled, gain access to knowledge, etc.

The Stacks use our actions to understand who we are, creating profiles which represent us, in the Stack Veritas.

Algorithms process our profiles and their relations to create other information about us, a description of reality, in the Res Algoritmica.

Stakhanov grabs all of this and searches for patterns within it, to make predictions, which might influence us.

Stakhanov Cosmology 2

Stakhanov Cosmology 2

In our daily lives we are Hacceitas, our selves, with our relations, identities, emotions, actions, thoughts, etc.

In the transition to our digital lives, some of this information is transformed: we become an Imago, a representation of ourselves.

Stacks create this Imago, the representation of ourselves in the digital domain. Thus, they are the Artifex (the artists, creating the representation of life)

Stakhanov captures the Imago of people, and searches for patterns in them, across time, locations, emotions and activities. When it finds patterns, it organises them into a Forma.

The Forma are used to create predictions, the Prophetia, which we come to know, and influence us.

Stakhanov Cosmology 3

Stakhanov Cosmology 3

Our Imago is represented in the Cloud, which is only truly accessible by the Stacks and a limited number of other, interrelated, subjects and entities, in the Caelum Internum.

Through the APIs other entities, among which is Stakhanov, are able to access the Imago of people, with many limitations and incompletenesses.

This is the Caelum Externum, in which the Imago is partially available, as the Stacks keep most part of them for themselves.

Stakhanov Cosmology 4

Stakhanov Cosmology 4

The last image, shows the Stack’s phylosopy.

In all of this Omnia Sunt Adventores, “everyone is a customer”.

Every person and entity is a customer for the Stacks, with different levels of engagement.

The Hospes, are the people who dedicate attention (Adtentio). Anyone who, for any reason, dedicates time and attention, is already a customer.

The Benevolens are the ones who share information (Informatio), such as their email, behaviour, actions.

The Cliens actually spend money ($).

The Stacks are obsessed with Clients (Clientibus Obsesses).

Here are some of the reactions to the Stakhanov exhibit at transmediale:,1569731;art256,1485701