How does it transform with the wide and accessible availability of ubiquitous and nomadic technologies?
How can we capture and visualize the Human Ecosystem of a city?
How can we transform this possibility to represent the Human Ecosystem into the opportunity to perceive its complexity and to perform it, to position ourselves within it and act creating new relations, new opportunities and new, yet unexplored possibilities?
These are some of the themes we will confront with on Tuesday, November 12 2013, at the MACRO Museum of Rome (in via Nizza 138) for a session of Aperitivi Formativi which will revolve around the idea (and project) of the Human Ecosystem.
The main idea driving the philosophy of the project is that with the advent of ubiquitous and nomadic technologies (digital) information has become part of our landscape. The world is wrapped in an everchanging, liquid, emergent membrane of information which people have learned to use to take decisions, express emotions, communicate and, in general, to transform their perception of the world.
It has become, in more than one way, a new sense, a new tactility and a new possibility for performance.
We see this as a “new part of Nature” (or, possibly, an “updated part of Nature”), expressed along the models of the Ecosystem, the whole of the subjects, energies and flows of a certain environment, as described through the relational networks interweaving their lives. A new conception of the Body of the City, to which we will try to operate grabbing inspiration from the idea of Urban Acupuncture, as expressed by Marco Casagrande, and expanded to include the reality of the ubiquitous informational and communicational landscape.
And, thus, we are bringing up a series of projects which deal with both the progressive sedimentation of the ubiquitous infoscape, describing both its ruins, and its emergence. And, with them, the coagulation and continuous evolution/transformation of stories, relationships, emotions. Or, looking to the other direction of the time arrow, to possibility and opportunity.
With these projects we are trying to bring augmented sensibility to the Third Landscapeof Information, the Third Infoscape, gathering inspiration from Gilles Clèment.
Together with the Council for Culture of the First Municipality of the City of Rome, on November 9th 2013, in Rome at Porta Futuro, from 10am to 5pm, we will be at Cultur+, the second meeting for the Cultural Ecosystem in the city.
Cultur+: the Cultural Ecosystem of the City of Rome
then, at 11am a series of thematic, vertical groups will form around the tables, to explore the opportunities offered by the approach we are following, and by the creation of collaboration practices among all the operators, the citizens and the administration; groups will form on:
Communication, Design and Architecture
Resources (including funding, European projects, public spaces, and the reuse/recontextualization of existing spaces)
this is a first classification we formed for the groups, matching the specific focuses of the administration; we are imagining ways to create additional/different classifications/groupings, and ways in which to allow people to group around their own defined themes and interests, and share the results with the rest of the ecosystem;
this activity will go on until 3:45pm, with a break for lunch
during this activity a parallel Office for the Ecosystem will be present, through which we will demonstrate one of the possibilities for the Human Ecosystem: what if you city administration offered an Office through which you (or your organization) could position yourself in the Human Ecosystem of your city and learn how navigate, understand and use it to find collaborations, resources, participation and the possibility to confront with common issues? (from 11am to 3:45pm)
at 3:50pm a short presentation of the concept of the Office for the Ecosystem will be given by Art is Open Source;
at 4pm the groups will take turns in communicating the results they achieved and the objectives which they set forth for the next phases;
at 4:30pm the conclusions will be made and the setup for the next meetings will be arranged.
The Real-time Cultural Ecosystem of the City of Rome is a visualisation which captures all the interactions on social networks through which internet users discuss about the cultural life of their city. (it is the first part of the Human Ecosystems project)
Real-time Cultural Ecosystem of the City of Rome, Space
Built with the support and collaboration of the Cultural Council of the First Municipality of Rome’s City Administration, it is the first of a series of Ecosystems which we will be publishing in the next months.
What is it?
The system captures in real time the public activity of citizens using social networks to express themselves about culture (Music, Theater, Cinema, Arts, Publishing, Traditions, History and Heritage, Sport, Tourism, Media).
captures the public activity of operators (publishing and communicating events and initiatives) and citizens (taking participating, storytelling and expressing along cultural themes in their daily lives);
understands the theme of the online discussions (for example contemporary arts, publishing…) and the emotional states which they express (for example an operator’s joy in communicating a new event; a citizen’s surprise and anxiety to participate; and his satisfaction or delusion afterwards);
represents information visually in three ways
space, the geography of culture, showing a real time map with the evidence of the places in which culture is discussed and made;
the time of culture, showing the online discussions as they emerge on social networks, across operators’ communication and citizen engagement;
the relations of culture, showing how operators and citizens relate by collaborating, participating, communicating and expressing opinions;
makes available a novel source of real-time Open Data with all the information captured and processed
contributes to the creation of a continuous and emergent census of culture, in real-time, including the operators creating and communicating events and initiatives, as well as the citizens and tourists which take part in them and publicly engage discussions.
Why is it Important?
It is the first time that such an action is made available to a public administration and, through Open Data, to operators and citizens, who will be able to use it to better know and understand the cultural landscape of their city, to support innovative phenomena to emerge, and to create services through the web and smartphones.
It is a replicable model, ready to be adopted by other administrations. And, most important, it is interoperable, allowing direct comparison among different territories, allowing to understand their characteristics and practices.
How is it done?
By using the possibilities offered by major social networks to harvest in real-time the public information generated by users and operators.
This information is captured as soon as it is generated in the geographical area of interest, and processed using a series of techniques and technologies (Natural Language Analysis, Emotional Analysis, Network and Relational Analysis), and are thus enriched and annotated with additional information regarding the themes and issues being discussed, the emotional states they express, and a best-effort guess of the location from which they have been generated and of which they are talking about.
All information is visualised practically in real time, and made available through a source of Open Data accessible through APIs.
An open beta version is available HEREfor anyone to access. It is an early beta, and we’re asking all the community to support in making it work perfectly, helping us out to identify data and information which seems out of place and also getting the interfaces to work as expected. To have access to the Open Data source you might have to wait a few days more, but please contact us to know more and get early access.
Keep in touch for more posts right here, as we will unveil updates, additional information and knowledge we have collected about Rome’s Cultural Ecosystem.
MediaDuemila magazine and the Associazione Amici di Media Duemila ONLUS will continue their support for the Electronic Man project, as an innovative research on the possibilities for the near future of communication, by hosting the installation version of the global performance at the event.
This short video displays the activity on social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare) during the riots of October 15th which took place in Rome during the local instance of the 15th October initiative created in the planetary process started by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The peaks and contours you see represent the intensity of the communication and conversations that was taking place from the start of the protest (at 3pm local time) up until its approximate end (at 8pm local time).
The animation shows the geo-referenced intensity of messages for each 30 minute time slot from the beginning to the end of the protest.
Messages have been captured using the publicly available APIs made available by the operators of these social networks and do not represent the totality of the conversations as:
some of them were not geo-referenced
there are limits in the public APIs, which cause the loss of some messages and the need to stop the capture process every few minutes to restore the connection
Even with these limitations taken into account, a massive number of communications and conversations has been captured, processed and represented in the visualization (around 20000).
The 3D visualization was juxtaposed to a realtime location based one like this one below:
location based realtime infovisualization of the riots in Rome oct15th
In this visualization geo-referenced social network messages pop up with the avatar icon of their author, as soon as they are created.
We were very sad about Rome’s protest on October 15th: the peaceful protest, the only one whose interest was to actually try to oppose the difficult situation of our planet, was completely overwhelmed by the violent one.
By looking at the peaks of intensity of communication on social networks and the other info visualizations, it is clear how most of the online conversation was focused on the violent riots. And this is also strongly reflected in older media such as TV news, newspapers and their websites.
It is time to invent new, innovative, creative forms of protest, fostering new forms of solidarety, collaboration, participation between people, and also to create tools, strategies and methodologies to bypass and overcome the tricks which power structures and the people and organizations which we want to fight against have learned to perform so well to dismantle and make disappear all the good parts of the critique coming from the peaceful protesters.
What we suggest is to create new forms of protest. Which do not look anything like these current ones.
Digital technologies can become truly useful tools for this. That is: if we care enough to reinvent ourselves and our practices and, thus, we take into account the need/possibility of inventing new tools and methodologies.
While we all evaluate what happened yesterday, on October 15th, we wish to make a couple of observations:
even a simple tool like this one (the realtime visualizations and the possibility to “read” the digital conversations around us as soon as they happen) could prove incredibly useful in situations like the violent ones happened yesterday
in multiple instances, valuable information on what was happening in other parts of the protest were spread on the network, but they were not coordinated nor people were aware that they could have been used and re-diffused to create a layer of digital intelligence that could have drastically changed the scenario
for example: multiple messages were suggesting a drastic change to the original path of the protest, and many, many of them tried to communicate to other people the presence of violence and danger in specific parts of the city; these messages had a very low propagation profile (understandable for example, by measuring their number of re-tweets or shares or propagation to other social networks), showing how they were not part of a diffused state of awareness that such information could/should be accessed/used by multiple people at a strategic level, to provide a network based diffused intelligence that could support in incredibly effective ways the dynamic, realtime tuning of strategies and decisions
or, if we analyze the data around Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano where the main clashes took place, we are able to see very precise, realtime information about the dislocation of dangerous scenarios or very informative updates to the realtime development of the events near and far along the protest; if you have ever been caught in the middle of a violent protest you will know that this kind of information is extremely valuable: in a scenario of limited visibility due to tear gas and explosions, of extreme noises, and of common misinformation being able to know for sure in which direction to walk to avoid being hurt, or to support people who are in danger or in need of help is incredibly useful.
Furthermore, such practices could/should be used by institutions and police, if they really care about the health and wellness of the population, for both pro-activity and monitoring the emergence of situations
services should be setup to alert people about possible alternatives, to suggest deviations and countermeasures to isolate the violent fringes or to safely bypass dangerous spots: imagine the effectiveness of a service which, according to your position, gives you realtime visual information on where to go to safely re-join the peaceful protest or where to get help, or where is a safe meeting spot to reassemble with your friends
situations could be monitored since their emergence; for example yesterday hundreds of people wrote messages about the position of the violent fringes of the protest and very precise accounts of their realtime activities; by simply reading this information the police would have had plenty of information to gain a significant strategic advantage and surround/isolate them: imagine it, they had thousands of people describing the actions and movements of the violent ones.
the question is, obviously, “do they want to care for the health and wellness of people?” But that is an entirely different questions and, starting from the critical movements of the 60s and 70s, we know a whole series of disturbing answers.
These and other topics will be discussed at the Share Festival and at the FabLab Italia during the first week of November 2011, where we will present the “VersuS” project.
VersuS is a spin-off of the ConnectiCity project, and is intended to create tools that enable us to imagine, design and create new tools for the city.
In VersuS the possibility to capture and understand the conversations on social networks is transformed into a tool with infinite uses, whose main goal is to propose new forms of citizenship and human relation, and to also suggest institutions and organizations new methodologies and strategies to innovate their understanding of their cities and to design and enact strategies which leverage new possible sensibilities to the desires, wishes and creativity of people.
A suggestion about the fact that change is possible.
VersuS, visualizing Oct15th in Rome
VersuS is done using Processing as well as several other technologies for the realtime social network analysis.
The full code as well as the final version of the visualization and some 3D prints of the riots as seen from social networks, together with other concepts for usage of these technologies and methodologies in arts, sciences, intitutions, business and activism will be on show at the Share Festival in the first week of November 2011.
Updates (Oct. 18th 2011):
thank you for the support we’re receiving! We will be organizing the data in usable formats and will release everything (datasets and software) in the next few days so that everyone interested can validate it and use it for their researches and projects. And if you do: please keep us informed! We’d love to know more about it.