The Real Time Museum of the City and the Ubiquitous Commons

A public gathering in Rome, uniting administrations, politics, civil society and the cultures of the Italian capital become the occasion to explore the Human Ecosystems, the Real Time Museum of the City and the Ubiquitous Commons: the emergence of a vision of the relational ecosystem of the city and of the transformation of citizenship in the age of ubiquitous information.

This will happen in Rome, on July 7th 2014, from 3pm to 7:30pm at the Palazzo ex Pantanella, piazza Bocca della Verità 16.

You can visit the website to learn more about the event (the website is in italian). You can also Download the Press Release and Download the Program for the event here (both are the official releases, in Italian).

The Real Time Museum of the City

What if there was a museum, in each city, which did not have in display paintings, sculptures or the archives and exhibits which we are all used to imagining when we think about Museums, but the “life of the city”, in real-time?

What if, in this Museum, you could play with the real-time life of the city, exploring the cultures, communities and relations which constantly form and transform in the city, between citizens of all ages, administrations, cultures, companies, organisations?

What if, in this Museum, you could learn how to understand these relationships, and how to use them to create a novel form of citizenship, in which citizens are positive, active, aware agents of their city, organising among themselves and with administrations and companies to promote and support the well-being of the city itself.

The Real Time Museum of the City

The Real Time Museum of the City

This is what we’re exploring with the Human Ecosystems project, starting in Sao Paulo, Rome, Montreal, Toronto, Lecce, Budapest and, really soon, in other major cities across the planet.

Ubiquitous Commons

The Human Ecosystems project is tightly connected with the concept of Ubiquitous Commons (and we will be spending a whole semester at Yale, with a Yale World Fellowship, to explore this concept and publish the first results).

With the idea of the Ubiquitous Commons we wish to highlight that a massive transformation has already happened for human beings.

Ubiquitous Information, mobile technologies, sensors, pervasive digital transaction, content, information and interaction have radically transformed the ways in which we perceive public and private spaces, as well as the ways in we relate, communicate, work, express, consume, share knowledge and information.

The world, today, sits in a grey area in which this radical transformation has already happened (and is constantly continuing to happen), and laws, regulations, social and cultural conventions, critical perceptions have not yet learned how to understand and cope with them, leaving us in a state of continuous, rapid, incomprehensible, opaque revolution of the boundaries of what is public and what is private (and the radical consequences which this has), which is controlled by entities whose interest does not lie in the public well-being.

Affecting everything from privacy, to transparency, to openness, to participatory governance, to shared knowledge, information, and even up to health and personal well-being (just think about all the things you can achieve through biometrics, quantified-self and more).

Ubiquitous Commons

Ubiquitous Commons

Through Ubiquitous Commons we wish to address this domain: to create a common effort through which Ubiquitous Information, of the many kinds which affect our daily lives – wether we realise it or not – becomes open, accessible, usable to us, as citizens and human beings, to perform this transformation which has already happened, and to mutate it into a chance for our expression and freedoms, giving us the chance to create new ecologies and economies, based on openness, accessibility, inclusion and participation.

The two issues (the Real-Time Museum of the City and Ubiquitous Commons) are closely connected, as the Real Time Museum of the City is a sort of iconic presence in the City of the concept of the Ubiquitous Commons: the place of perception and beauty in which one starts to comprehend, learn and use the Relational Ecosystem of the city, to perform this transformation, to perceive a new possibility for citizenship.

A model of relations in Human Ecosystems: Relational Ecosystems

We just published an article on Human Ecosystems in which we describe the ways in which we can model the relationships in the Relational Ecosystems of cities.

The article is titled:

Relations in the Human Ecosystems: Cultures, Communities, Roles and Emergence

and you can read it here:

It is interesting to use these models to gain understandings about how people relate and interact, describing people’s roles in these interactions.

These descriptions, of course, have variations through time and contexts. People participate to different communities and cultures at the same time, with broader or tighter scopes, their roles within them changing all the time, as well as their level of engagement and the layouts and configuration of their participation.

In the article we explore the basics of how we interpret relations in the Human Ecosystems, and use the assumptions to describe various roles which people commonly represent in the Relational Ecosystem: the Expert, the Hub, the Influencer, the Amplifier and the Bridge.

All of these roles allow us to understand how information and knowledge flow across the Relational Ecosystem of cities.

the Influencer

the Influencer


Micro Histories of cities and Ubiquitous Commons, at #visualize in Lecce

Join us for #visualize, more than one week of data, in Lecce (Italy) from May 8th to June 18th 2014, in the Palazzo Turrisi-Palumbo (via Marco Basseo 1), for an incredible series of workshops and lectures about visual journalism and data, in which we will create one full project of our own.

Here is the program for #visualize:

Visualize, more than a week on data

Visualize, more than a week on data

Speakers include John Grimwade, Leonardo RomeiMartin Foessleitner, Fabio Franchino.

Our talk will be on the 16th of June 2014, and it will be mostly based on the Human Ecosystems project, and on the idea of using the real-time, human-generated infoscape of the city to create a novel form of Public Space, which we call Ubiquitous Commons.

In the workshop, running from  June 16th to June 18th, we will use the Human Ecosystems to build an actual project.

You can use this link to subscribe to the workshop:

Here below is some info about our intervention at #visualize:

Micro-histories of cities e Ubiquitous Commons

Ubiquitous emergent narratives in cities as novel public spaces.


Each day, we generate thousands of information elements through electronic transactions, interactions with digital systems and social networks. Often we don’t realize it.

This mass of information constitutes the millions of micro-histories of our cities, in real-time, manifesting themselves during our everyday lives, while we shop or communicate using social networks.

Micro-histories unite to form macro-histories, the story of the city in which multitudes of people take part to an enormous data-symphony from which citizens’ changes, desires, emotions, vision and expectancies emerge, as well as the ones of organizations and administrations.

Through the Human Ecosystems project we observe in real-time citizens’ public expressions on social networks to describe the relational ecosystem of cities: the emergence of communities, of the themes which they discuss, and of their emotional expressions. This information can be interweaved with other sources of Open and Big Data, and with the flows of news and information, to enact a system in which cities – and their citizens – express themselves, and, most important of all, which can be used as a tool for participation, organization and planning, by everyone. A new common: the Digital Public Space of the city.


The millions of micro-histories of cities: Human Ecosystems e Ubiquitous Commons.

During the talk we will introduce the Human Ecosystems project, and the concept of Ubiquitous Commons. We will show how to harvest public information from social networks to describe cities’ relational ecosystem: the emergence of communities, the issues which they discuss and their emotional expressions.

We will confront with the legal, political, conceptual, theoretical, technical and technological scenarios according highlighting the opportunities raised by enacting processes of this kind.

We will introduce the current operative scenarios of the Human Ecosystems, and the ways in which we are using them in the cities of Rome, S. Paulo, Malmö, Montreal, Toronto.

We will show how this information can be published as a form of real-time Open Data, and how it can be used in conjunction with other sources of Open and Big Data to obtain results which are relevant for citizens, administrations, enterprises, artists and designers.


Strategic and narrative usage scenarios for the Relational Ecosystems of cities.

We will start from a practical issue (public transport, pollution, the job market…) to setup a working scenario for the Human Ecosystems, from the point of view of one of the possible subjects involved (citizens, enterprises, administrations…).

We will show how to interweave the data from the relational ecosystem of the city with other data sources to obtain peculiar and relevant information.

For simplicity, we will use the data that has been harvested in a specific city across a 6 month period, without getting into the implementation details needed to create a system for real-time observation and for natural language analysis. Nevertheless, these techniques will be explained and proper references will be given, together with the possibility to use the Human Ecosystems.

The harvested information will be used to obtain the two outcomes of the workshop: an info-aesthetic, complexity-oriented, visualization, and the description of a possible strategy for intervention onto the selected issue, using the Urban Acupuncture technique.

Desired skills for the workshop:

  • basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript (we will work in groups, so at least one member of each group should possess these skills )

During the workshop we will use:

Visualize, brand

Visualize, brand

Visualize partners

Visualize partners

One Million Dreams

Dreaming on social networks.

One Million Dreams is a generative video that lasts around 200 hours which shows, instant by instant, a whole year of dreams captured from social networks.

This is a short preview.

You had a dream last night, and you published something about it on major social networks? A software captured it and put it on a database.

In the video, dreams are captured and processed using natural language analysis to understand people’s emotions regarding the various dreams, and the topic it deals with.

For the time being, we have isolated a limited number of topics: “job”, “love”, “school”, “money”, “environment”, “relations”, “family”, “memories” and “future”.

The video will be soon implemented as an exhibit, in which dreams will be captured and visualized in real-time.

One Million Dreams Exhibit

One Million Dreams Exhibit

Then they will be archived, to obtain the largest dream archive of the planet: a global library of the dreams of all humanity in which it will be possible to contribute, search for dreams and extract them (the archive of real-time dreams will form a source of real-time Open Data) and research, play, make apps with them.

One Million Dreams has been produced through the Human Ecosystems project.

Near Future Design at TEDxRoncade

Art is Open Source will be at TEDxRoncade to talk about Near Future Design on February 22nd 2014.

Saturday February 22nd 2014 starting at 10:30am

Where: Auditorio Tenuta Ca’ Tron, Via Boschi, 14 Ca’ Tron – 31056 Roncade ( Treviso, Italy )

The theme of this TEDx Event is “Biodiversity is the new progress

From the TEDxRoncade website:

“The idea of progress is written in the landscape. The eras of agriculture and industry have transformed the ecosystem. For centuries, their technologies have defined the boundaries of what is possible. In the era of knowledge, where value focuses on immateriality, the idea of progress transforms. The logics of the ecosystem – from biodiversity to complexity – extends to culture, economy, design: the landscape of knowledge unites the heritages from the past to the richness of opportunities for the future.

To create the new world we must be aware of its frontiers: in a globalised planet, inhabited by 7 billion human beings, it is not the the unexplored territories of physical geographies, but in the unexplored territories of ideas.

If we are able to become aware of it, we will be able to start thinking about progress, again: embracing the road to a form of innovation that is dense with meaning.”

From this perspective we will explore the point of view of Near Future Design, a set methodologies whose purpose is to abandon the idea of a singular future, and to transform our perception through the possibility to shift our perception of “what is possible”.

Near Future Design comprises techniques and methodologies coming from different disciplines.

From the creation of the Future Maps, built starting from a careful comprehension and evaluation of the State of the Arts and Technologies, to the ethnographical understanding (and, again, mapping) of emergent behaviours and rituals.

To comprehend the passage from the established narratives (what we perceive as our normal, daily lives and practices), to the discovery of the strange now (patters of recurring behaviours and rituals for which there is still no “encoded” and commonly understandable meaning), to the mapping of the future possibilities (the possibility to understand technical, technological and processual trends, for as they are now, and the degrees of likelihood according to which they will evolve in the future). All done to design the New Normal, the things which, according to a varying degree of plausibility, will constitute the new “version” of our daily lives, in 5 years, or in 1 year, or in 1 month, or even later on, this afternoon.

We then use arts and design to expose the New Normal, using acts of world-building implemented using Transmedia Narratives, to open up these scenarios, to transform them into global, participatory performances. To shift our perceptions of what is possible, to open up critical, immersive conversations in which our desired and preferred versions of the future can emerge.

See you at TEDxRoncade!