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.

Incautious Porn at SSN2014 in Barcelona

We’ll be attending SSN2014 (the 6th Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference) in Barcelona to present the outcomes of our Incautious Porn project: an anthropological experiment in blackmail and the perception of private/public space online.

From the conference site:

Contemporary surveillance is characterised by ambiguities and asymmetries. Surveillance results from different desires and rationales: control, governance, security, profit, efficiency but also care, empowerment, resistance and play. Surveillance is never neutral. Surveillance is always about power and that power is increasingly asymmetric. Surveillance practices are also changing and as ‘smart’ surveillance systems proliferate utilising and generating ‘Big Data’ new forms of ambiguity and asymmetry arise.

We will be presenting the Incautious Porn project:

Incautious Porn, an anthropological experiment in blackmail and the perception of private/public space online

 

“We have radically changed our perception of what is public and what is private.

 

While using social networks, search engines and websites determining who has access to our information, our personal details, our habits and preferences is often complex or not easily accessible.

 

Each person‘s information is sold hundreds of times each day, while surfing websites and social media sites, with information passing from one provider to the other in ways that are subtle and non-transparent: data collected on one site may be used on other sited to sell us advertisements or to investigate on our lives.

 

On top of that, most people tend to interpret social media sites as new forms of public spaces, and it is fundamental for service providers‘ strategies that this perception is maintained, to promote our full disclosure, allowing them to collect even more data about ourselves.

 

We used the project Incautious Porn to investigate on this scenario, to explore the shifting and blurring of the boundaries of what we perceive as our privacy and as our private and public spaces.

 

Incautious Porn uses the operations of a fake company systematically invading our privacy (even to the point of performing simulated forms of blackmail) to collect enormous amounts of information which we have used to analyze this scenario.

 

In Incautious Porn art acts both as a sensor on the transformation of human societies and as a tool for analyzing its effects.

 

The effects of the Incautious Porn project and communication campaign have been massive, bringing it to the attention of a large, global, audience and, thus, allowing the research team to benefit from a large data set.

 

Furthermore, the actions of the blackmailing fake-company have been led using an ethical approach: no money was taken from people, and all their personal data has been preserved, also using the initiative as a testing lab for novel privacy and security preservation techniques, and as a campaign for awareness about the transformation of people‘s perception of contemporary private/public spaces.”

On: 25th April 2014, at SSN2014, at the CCCB, street Montalegre 5

Anthropological Innovation: observing and understanding the mutation of human life

Anthropological Innovation on il Sole 24 Ore

Anthropological Innovation on il Sole 24 Ore

Our article about an Anthropological view on Innovation appeared today on Nòva24, the inset of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s most influential financial newspaper. Our impressions after the 7 weeks on the Eisenhower Fellowship.

Here it is, below, translated in English and with some information and links added.

Anthropological Innovation

Private spaces change and they become “privatised”. A network exploration withe the Eisenhower Fellowships. Searching for meaning. With urgency.

By Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico

Published on Nòva24, Il Sole24Ore, July 28th 2013

 

Everything has changed.

But what is the meaning of this change?

We know that it starts with the emergence of different factors:

  • the ubiquitous accessibility of digital technologies and networks;
  • the shifting of the boundaries between what we perceive as our private and public spaces;
  • the crisis of the global finance, of identity, and of the models we used before the rise of the era of information, of knowledge and of global interconnection.

But we don’t know the consequences.

With this latent question in mind, we set off for two months of travelling in the United States for our Eisenhower Fellowship.

We discovered that at the White House Office for Science & Technology Policy they are actively searching for tools and methodologies to observe and comprehend this anthropological mutation.

That at the Institute for the Future they are asking themselves what happens when an organization realizes that their objectives can be filled only by establishing a wider perspective on what it means to have a vision about the future.

That at the Aspen Institute they are starting to go beyond the idea of objective privacy, reflecting about the concept of expectation, our perceived privacy, the one that we have learned to recognize around us through society and culture.

That at the Institute for Human Centered Design, Valerie Fletcher highlights the importance and richness of the diversity and poliphonicity of the world.

We act as engaged observers, taking part in the conversations.

At the MIT MediaLab Sep Kamvar invites us for a public talk about the transformation of the concept of map: generative info-scapes (informational landscapes) created by harvesting ubiquitous digital interactions.

Organizations such as the University of Texas, the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext, Stanford, Harvard and Carnegie Mellon show deep interest when we offer to promote joint efforts to design and implement anthropological observation environments based on social networks, sensors and networks, to highlight recipes, emerging rituals, errors, opportunities and mutations.

But our search for meaning is not the mere sum of all these research approaches.

We now can benefit from the availability of many of the tools and methodologies we need to confront with the present, such as BigData, Open Data, the Cloud, social networks and infinite ways to share informations and knowledge.

Despite this, we all really have a hard time in promoting a transformation which is not about “consumption”, and which represents a real opportunity for the development and well-being of humanity.

A large part of the meaning that we were searching for can be found by observing the mutation of the ways in which perceive public and private spaces.

Hundreds of years of cultural development have taught us to establish reasonable expectations about the effects of our behaviour in public and private spaces. In the digital era everything changes: identity becomes a floating, fluid concept, expressing itself through spaces that we perceive as public or intimate, but which are really a privatized something else.

On one side is Anonymous, on the other is Facebook. And a whole lot is in between.

On one side is the possibility to use the network to be “uno, nessuno e centomila” (“one, no-one and one-hundred-thousand“). On the other side are spaces which we perceive as being public, but which are truly privatized, in which our information is sold hundreds of times each time we click, it doesn’t matter if to the NSA or to the companies trying to sell us french fries or sneakers.

Google is a good example for this. A new, super-national, entity which is able and willing to assume an active role in trying to find solutions for humanity’s most pressing problems (just think about the Google Cars project, assessing energy and transport, or Project Loon for digital divide).

But Google is also a representation of the condition which is needed to access these solutions: to completely transform the ways in which we perceive the difference that runs between the public and private domains, to adhere to a vision which is in total favour of business objectives of the service provider.

This state of continuous disruption causes cognitive dissonance: the solution to the world’s largest problems and issues – such as environment, sustainability, energy and access – at the price of a radical transformation and what is, to all effects, a jump into the void.

We are in no way able to predict the long terms effect of this jump into the void (it is a disruption, after all).

What is given is the possibility to comprehend the radicality of the transformation.

Large operators have learned to highlight and to valorize their vision about their proposed social, political, energetic and ecosystemic transformation, using it in “performative” ways to engage people in this mutation, thus making it perceptible and palpable: an object of desire for global conversations.

It is important to understand that this is a top-down process: a suggestive vision is made available to people to try and determine their active participation to a certain agenda.

Too little is being done to promote the cultures whose objective is to create the perceptive access to the possibility for joint efforts to design the present and the future, to comprehend and desire that this process takes place at civic level, to establish the practices of coexistence and participation.

For example, the practices of Open Innovation – in which challenges are published onto which wide communities gather to collaboratively find solutions and answers – don’t have a whole lot to say about the Hows and Whys that will enable those same communities to let their own challenges emerge, with the objective to improve the practices for coexistence among human beings.

The dynamic interweaving of the relations in human ecosystems goes well beyond what can be obtained by counting hashtags on Twitter.

It is about perceiving and using the anthropological complexity of communities and societies.

And it implies the possibility of conceiving radical transformations that will enable and support the opportunity for coexistence of the recombinant communities which constitute the digital era.

And this is a reflection on which the Mediterranean, with its mix of cultures and approaches can have a lot to say, share and give.

Anthropological Innovation of il Sole24Ore

Anthropological Innovation of il Sole24Ore

Incautious Porn: a voyage into privacy

Incautious Porn

Incautious Porn

We searched for Porn.
We found you.

We captured more than 100,000 public comments on porn and sexually oriented websites in which users left their mobile phone number to male/female/transgender performers, where everyone could see it, and we turned them into a series of paintings which you can purchase.”

Incautious Porn

We access social networking websites every day.

We think they’re free, but what we really are doing is accessing services which we pay by granting access to our personal data to companies, organizations, institutions, aggregators, marketing firms etcetera.

And there’s more.

While we navigate these websites we tend to radically transform our perception of what is public and what is private.

We often engage messaging, chats, comments and content production without realizing that we’re saying and posting things in public, where anyone can see them, and use them.

Incautious Porn is about this.

It is about the transformation of the ways in which we perceive private and public spaces.

It is about being sold hundreds of times each day: our data, information, emotions, relations.

How is it done?

We harvested the content found on hundreds of thousands of porn or sexually oriented websites using freely accessible tools such as Google, various Web Scraping APIs, and the APIs which are made accessible by popular social networks service operators (such as Facebook and Twitter), to get as many naughty comments coming from all you boys and girls.

We searched among the comments to find the ones in which users left clear indication of their phone/mobile number to the sensual performer, and we put them in a database, along with a screensot of the page, its link and the date/time in which it was recorded.

incautious porn how-to

incautious porn how-to

We developed a little software which takes one random comment/link out of the database and uses it to create a beautiful generative painting and originality certificate.

We set up this website to put the paintings on sale.

Note: all the content used in the process is freely available online, in public forums/blogs/webcam-shows/social networks/etc.

More info coming soon

Updates on Enlarge Your Consciousness In 4 Days 4 Free

Enlarge Your Consciousness in 4 Days 4 Free

Enlarge Your Consciousness in 4 Days 4 Free

Here are some updates to the project Enlarge Your Consciousness in 4 Days 4 Free

Here is the event on the website of BTF Gallery

Here on Artribune

Here is the official announcement on ArteFiera OFF

Here is a wonderful article on D’Ars Magazine

And on this issue of Espoarte you can find an article about the project

 

Here is a slideshow of the backstage, preparing the exhibit:

 

 

and here’s a slideshow about the exhibit:

 

 

 

More information and materials about the work are coming up in the next few days.