Myriads: transgression in the Post City

This year, Art is Open Source, Human Ecosystems and Ubiquitous Commons will be featured at Ars Electronica, as part of the Post City Kit exhibition, with the Myriads project (part of the wider Ubiquitous Infoscapes project).

From Ars Electronica’s website:

Post City Kit is a toolkit of ideas, strategies, devices and prototypes for the city of the future. The city is – and will remain – a scene of a permanent human life and survival experiment. In condensed form here culture(s), social systems and economic and political policies of their time are coming to light. The Post City Kit Exhibition shows with numerous prototypes and project presentations possible development directions towards the urban habitats for the upcoming human generations.

Myriads

The Myriads project will be composed of:

  • an exhibit;
  • some Info-dealers;
  • a series of 15 micro-workshops (aka the Workshop Pills).

Let’s see what the project is about, and what you’ll see in Ars Electronica.

The project concept

Big Data is a concept in continuous mutation. The exponential rise of the quantity and quality of data and information which individuals generate every day is the single most important driver of the evolution of the concept of Big Data.

Each of our gestures, movements, relations, transactions, expressions tend to become occasions for the generation of digital data and information.

This happens whether we realize it or not, consciously or unconsciously, in direct, indirect, transparent or completely opaque ways. At the present time, most individuals generate data in ways in which they don’t realize or understand, and which they cannot understand, due to the opacity of collection processes, algorithms, classifications, parameters. They don’t (can’t) know how this information is used: unaccessible profiles are used to generate personalized interfaces, services, advertisements, content. We are constantly becoming the unknowing subjects of social experiments, communication campaigns, national security scrutiny, dots in dashboards and information visualizations.

Individuals are, currently, the only ones who cannot fully benefit from Big Data: to organize themselves; to create meaningful, shared initiatives; to understand more about themselves and about the world around them.

On top of that, when data becomes so detailed that the sample can be as large as the actual population, and it is possible to use complex algorithms to process it, we experience a growing rise in the perception of the possibility to eliminate all risks. Which, of course, has its impacts, in terms of the elimination of the possibility to comprehend and value what is different, unexpected, transgressive, adventurous, possible. This may lead to the deterministic, data-biopolitical scenario which is what we confront with with our projects.

We aim at describing an ubiquitous infoscape, in which data becomes an accessible, usable part of the landscape, just as buildings, trees, roads, and in which it is clear and transparent (although complex and fluid) what is public, private, intimate. In which people are able to express how they wish their data to be used, and can actually use it to construct meaningful actions. We aim to create a participatory, inclusive, performative space, in which people – as individuals and members of society – can express themselves and do things, defining new forms of public/private/intimate spaces which are agible, accessible, usable.

Myriads visualization

Myriads visualization

Myriads

What is the role of transgression in the Post City?

Myriads of micro-histories in the city massively recombine, interfere, interact, interconnect, forming the life of the city in its continuous mutation, innovation and transgression.

People constantly transgress, reprogramming spaces, time and relations, creating a level of tactical cultural biodiversity which can happen only in the dense urban environments, and which constitutes the wealth and richness of the city.

Elizabeth Grosz defines this process as spatial excess, a new dimension which is able to go beyond preconceptions, prejudices and worries about utility, “beyond the relevance for the present, looking towards the future.” The revelation and discovery of this excess depends on the possibility for transgression.

Excess is in the “problematic”, which is full of potential. The clandestine, the unacknowledged, the unofficial find their survival – beyond crime – in the transgression of social norms and limits. Those same limits which have excluded them in the first place. The recycle trash, appropriate spaces, invent communication channels, create styles, fashions and trends.

They don’t cross borders: they move on them. Moving, they innovate.

Using a term from Massimo Canevacci Ribeiro: innovation is the possibility for methodological indiscipline.

The Myriads project created for Ars Electronica by Human Ecosystems and Ubiquitous Commons establishes a peer-to-peer ethnography of the city: a diffused participatory observation in which the myriads of public micro-histories of the daily life of the city will be captured, transformed into a commons, and performed through art, education, citizen engagement and tactical usage.

The Exhibit

The Myriads exhibit will come under the form of a small real-time museum of the city, in which people will be able to learn more about the city (it will be instanced to observe the city of Linz), and to ask questions to the city, obtaining participatory, polyphonic, emergent answers.

A series of interactive information visualizations will be on show, describing only some of the ways in which people can use this information.

Some will show where data and information are more dense.

Myriads at Ars Electronica, the density of information

Myriads at Ars Electronica, the density of information

Some will show emotional expressions which can be inferred from the ways in which people communicate, or act.

Myriads at Ars Electronica: emotions

Myriads at Ars Electronica: emotions

Some will show the relations running between people, as they emerge from digital interactions.

Myriads at Ars Electronica: the relational ecosystem

Myriads at Ars Electronica: the relational ecosystem

Some will show how topics of discussion or interest are interrelated with one another.

Myriads at Ars Electronica: topics relate to each other

Myriads at Ars Electronica: topics relate to each other

Some will show the languages used, and how they relate with each other, through the ways in which people use and interweave them, with words, sentences, speaking to someone in one language and to someone else in another.

Myriads at Ars Electronica: words and languages

Myriads at Ars Electronica: words and languages

A series of other visualizations will be shown, and some will be created on location, together with workshops participants.

All the information is obtained through social networks, smartphones, network connected devices disseminated in the city and on people’s bodies, and through the fantastic collaboration with Linz’s Open Commons, and Linz Open Data.

To learn more how we collect data and information, and how we confront with the enormous critical implications of these practices, you may want to look at the Human Ecosystems and Ubiquitous Commons websites.

The Info-dealers

In the Myriads space, there will be Info-dealers.

The Info-dealer is a new form of urban dweller, emerging in the ubiquitous public sphere: a thug, a lowlife, a transgressor who lives on the border of society. The Info-dealer is a dealer, he/she knows things; knows what’s going on in the city; knows what “they” don’t, and that’s his/her advantage: the Info-dealer knows the micro-histories of the city. He/she knows how to use them, to do things, to organize people, to make things happen, to know where to get things, who are the best people for a certain topic, who to call, who to engage, what people desire and expect.

Info-dealers stop people and tell them “do you need something?” They operate on people’s desires, imaginations, expectations, wishes, frustrations; they listen and understand what people want, establishing a complicity, an intimate relation with them, to know their desires.

By visiting Myriads you may have the chance to meet one.

Myriads of workshops

Myriads of workshops

Myriads of Knowledge Pills

How is it possible to capture the real-time life of the city, using social networks, sensors, data, wearable devices, Internet of Things, domotics, and other sources of digital information?

How can this process represent the myriads of micro-histories in the city, and their potential for generating diffused knowledge and imaginaries?

How is it possible to use this knowledge, transforming it into the inclusive participatory performance of the co-creation of the city?

What are peer-to-peer ethnography and Digital Urban Acupuncture?

What is the Relational Ecosystem of the city?

How is it possible to define and use new types of identity in these types of processes? Individual, anonymous, collective, nomadic and temporary identities?

What are the implications of these kinds of processes on privacy, surveillance, people’s fundamental rights for assembly, expression, opinion? And how can we turn these issues upside-down, and inside-out, to use this wealth of data in constructive, shared, inclusive ways, to transform the city?

The Myriads of Knowledge Pills workshop series will answer some of these questions.

15 workshop pills.

20 minutes each.

Each micro-workshop deals one “knowledge pill”, delivered by Myriad’s info-dealers, which participants will be able to take with them.

No technical or technological pre-requisite needed. All can (and should) participate.

Everyone can attend just 1 workshop, 2, 3, all of them. They can be experienced singularly, but the more you attend, the more you understand.

This is the list of workshops:

  1. Harvesting data in the city
  2. Humans and Non-Humans living, expressing and performing in the city
  3. Citizens’ micro-histories captured through the devices in their pockets, homes, offices
  4. An introduction to the Third Infoscape
  5. The Relational Ecosystem of cities
  6. Peer-to-Peer Ethnography
  7. Digital Urban Acupuncture for dummies
  8. Identities in the city: individual, collective, anonymous, nomadic, temporary
  9. Human Ecosystems: the real-time life of the city becomes a commons
  10. Ubiquitous Commons: the commons in the age of ubiquitous technologies
  11. Stakhanov: a Big Data oracle to predict your lives, and its implications on privacy and ingenuity
  12. Generating artworks with the data of the real-time life of the city
  13. An Emotional Compass
  14. The Industrialization of the Mind
  15. Zombies. Zombies everywhere. Each age has its “Monsters”. Transgression in the city.

Please look at the program to know times and locations.

See you there! (or back here to know how it went)

Ubiquitous Commons updates

http://www.ubiquitouscommons.org/ubiquitous-commons-updated-and-the-societing-summer-school-at-ruralhub/

Just published on Ubiquitous Commons:

… in the double transition which we are living (from scarcity to abundance; from the physical, situated, relational environment to the ubiquitous one, enacted through data, information and knowledge exchange, among human beings and devices, services and other forms of non-human entities, such as organizations, companies, institutions, etc.) it is not sufficient anymore to create innovative services or platforms. What is necessary for all enhancements for human life is the creation of the possibility of high quality relational environments.

 

Iperconnessioni Rurali at Commons Camp 2015

UC – Ubiquitous Commons will contribute to the Common Camp experience with a plenary session dedicated to the introduction and discussion of the pamphlet “Iperconnessioni Rurali“.

***

What:
“Iperconnessioni Rurali” and the Ubiquitous Commons Project – Plenary Session

When:
6th July 2015

Discussant:
Adam Arvidsson, Alex Giordano, Salvatore Iaconesi, Oriana Persico

curated by:
Rural Hub and Art Is Open Source

***

Iperconnessioni Rurali workshop,  held in April 2015 at Rural Hub, is the very first attempt to apply the methodological and conceptual UC frame to rural contexts.

As a result of the workshop, together with the group of participants we edited the homonymous pamphlet “Iperconnessioni Rurali”, which will be presented and discussed for the first time during the plenary session of Common Camp, on July 6th 2015 in Calvanico (Salerno, Italy).

Designed by Nefula, the pamphlet will be soon released and available online.

About UC

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

The UC project aims to gain critical thoughts about the current mutation, creating (legal, conceptual, technical) tools and practices through which citizens, organizations, researchers and other stakeholders can enact shared, participatory and ethical processes in which all subjects become actively engaged in defining how the data and information they produce are used.

 

Ubiquitous Commons at the STARTS Symposium in Brussels, June 2015

from Ubiquitous Commons at the STARTS Symposium in Brussels, June 2015

Ubiquitous Commons will be at the STARTS Symposium in Brussels, on June 22-23 2015.

Promoted by ICT Art Connect, STARTS begins to explore opportunities for piloting cross-sectorial collaboration to enhance and promote innovation. To foster such collaboration, the European Commission is launching its STARTS –S&T&ARTS programme.

In the STARTS symposium, we will explore the catalytic role of the Arts for innovation in business, industry and society and how to foster it. Possible synergies will be analyzed from an entrepreneurial, technological, scientific, social, and artistic angle. Already existing collaboration of S&T with the Arts in European Commission funded projects will be particularly highlighted.

You can find the program and indications on how to get there, HERE.

Ubiquitous Commons will be featured on Monday 22nd, in the 13:30-15:15 Data and Society panel, together with Jaromil RojoDomenico VicinanzaMarleen StikkerFilippo GianettaRoel Roscam Abbing and Teresa Dillon.

3 days in London with Human Ecosystems, La Cura and Ubiquitous Commons: report

From June 3rd to Jun 5th, a series of events organized by the Big Social Data Research Group at King’s College in collaboration with Citizen Biomedicin Research Group and the Open Data Institute,  engaged AOS in a workshop, a lecture and a public talk.

Below a report from the three events.

1. June 3rd: “Playing with data in the Ubiquitous Commons” – workshop

A one-day hands-on workshop hosted by the Big Social Data Research Group at King’s College.

Human Ecosystems Workshop - King's College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop – King’s College, London

During the morning session we introduced and explored with participants a series of  key concepts, in particular:

  • the conceptual frame of the Human Ecosystems project, describing how multiple types of public data coming from social networks, sensors, open data sources, energy use, census and more can be captured, processed using multiple techniques (from Natural Language Processing, to Machine Learning, Network Analysis, Emotional Analysis and Geographic Analysis) to produce a set of large Data Commons, which can be used for multiple purposes including research, policy making, citizen action, collaboration, participatory and peer-to-peer organizational models, development of novel forms of economies, creation of services, artworks, designs, information visualizations, interactive experiences, digital toys, data-reactive devices and more;
  • the concept of the Relational Ecosystem, describing how these massive data capturing techniques can lead to forming large linked data patterns which, in turn, lead to the possibility to understand how communities form and transform over time and place, by understanding information, knowledge, opinion, emotion and behavior flows in cities. We also focused on the many characteristics of these human networks and of their participants, including their characterization as influencers, experts, hubs, bridges among different communities, and the ways in which to create new characterizations, using network science;
  • the many implications of these practices, at levels which are social, political, economic, exploring the resulting modifications of the factual and perceived concepts of public, private and intimate spheres, and the further transformations to citizens’ awareness and action which could be brought on by the availability of such a large Data Commons, and of the tools to use it, of the related education processes, of the information visualizations and on the participatory practices which could develop.
Human Ecosystems Workshop - King's College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop – King’s College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop - King's College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop – King’s College, London

During the afternoon session:

  • a series of tools from the Human Ecosystems platform was installed, giving participants the possibility to autonomously start their own data harvesting processes;
  • a complete social network harvesting process for the city of London was started. The group watched the results using a variety of information visualizations which are present in the current HE toolkits (geographic, relational, networked, time-based, artistic, and more). We explored the principal steps which are required to create new ones (the structure of the data sources in the commons produced through Human Ecosystems, the many tools, libraries and Human Ecosystems API calls which can be used for this purpose).
  • we finally focused on some of the participants’ projects and activities to suggest ways in which the Human Ecosystems could be used in their cases, also establishing a number of possible partnerships and opportunities which need to be explored further.
Human Ecosystems Workshop - King's College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop – King’s College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop - King's College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop – King’s College, London

Human Ecosystems Workshop, King's College: capturing London

Human Ecosystems Workshop, King’s College: capturing London

2. June 4th: “La Cura, an Open Source Cure for Cancer” – lecture and conversation

A 2 hours lecture hosted by the Citizen Biomedicine Research Group which involved us and the participant in deep and stimulating conversation exploring:

  • The unfolding of the facts and implications of “La Cura”, from the events which led to its beginning, its artistic elements, the metaphors of data as a connecting tissue for society, the biopolitical aspects of data and Big Data, the social interaction, collaboration and participation aspects of La Cura, the media and communication aspects of the project;
  • The rituals of hacking (understanding systems, generating knowledge, making knowledge available, provoke unexpected usages) and their implications on medicine;
  • The rituals of re-appropriation of data, an the consequent transition from data-subject to the holistic interpretation of human being, in which data becomes an opportunity for interconnection, interaction and participation of the entire society;
  • The role of arts, design, creativity and transgression, as radical innovators, as creators of new, unexpected spaces for social construction of conscience, as multipliers of perceived possible futures, and as tools to explore desirable, preferrable futures;
  • The comparison of “La Cura” to other experiences (like, for example, cancer bloggers, cancer and social networks) and services (like “Patients Like Me”).
La Cura: lecture at King's College Citizens  Biomedicine Research Group

La Cura: lecture at King’s College Citizens Biomedicine Research Group

Among the results, the conversation collaboratively described a tentative scenario in which experiences like “La Cura” and more encoded, industrialized ones like “Patients Like Me” could come together and co-exist according to an ecosystemic approach to suggest new scenarios for the collaborative and participative production of science, social and political actions, economies, activism, and peer-to-peer operative models.

3. 5th June: “Ubiquitous Commons” – public talk

Hosted by the ODI – Open Data Institute, the talk involved a very diverse audience, including hackers, lawyers, organizations, enterprises, developers, architects, urban planners, Internet of Things enthusiasts and experts.

Ubiquitous Commons talk at ODI - Open Data Institute (London)

Ubiquitous Commons talk at ODI – Open Data Institute (London)

During the discussion we:

  • Explored the scenario leading to the creation of the Ubiquitous Commons: conscious/unconscious ubiquitousproduction of data; impossibility to understand what data we generate, and how it is used; impossibility to express ho we want our data to be used; impossibility to track how our data is used; impossibility to autonomously or collaboratively enact individual or participatory practices for data generation and usage, in inclusive ways;
  • Explored the Ubiquitous Commons architecture: externalize data access mechanism from operators (social networks, IoT, domotics, biotech, wearables…) onto a peer-to-peer environment (Blockchain), using encryption and a legal/technological protocol;
  • Explored the possibility to create data commons using the Ubiquitous Commons identity model (individual, collective, anonymous, nomadic and temporary types of identity);
  • Explored the legal, political, social, economic, creative implications of the model.
  • Discussed possible usage scenarios and novel economic models.
  • Discussed technical/technological implications;
  • Expressed a call to action for interested parties to join the initiative (legal, technical/technological, use cases, adoption communties).
Ubiquitous Commons talk at ODI - Open Data Institute (London)

Ubiquitous Commons talk at ODI – Open Data Institute (London)

Ubiquitous Commons talk at ODI - Open Data Institute (London)

Ubiquitous Commons talk at ODI – Open Data Institute (London)

Special thanks to Mark Coté, Tobias Blanke, Barbara Prainsack, Lorenzo Del Savio, Jennifer, Giles Greenway for the wonderful hospitality and to make all of it happen.