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)

VivaCosenza: how to transform a city event into a real-time participatory performance

Realtime VivaCosenza

Realtime VivaCosenza

VivaCosenza Performance Lab is an international event about art and performance that will be held on December 8th and 9th, 2012 in the city of Cosenza, an ancient and beautiful site of the south of Italy.

The event will feature multiple international artists, a city-wide forum engaging the whole population in cultural design and activities dedicated to the creation of public strategies and policies, as well as a series of innovative scenarios dedicated to education, for high school and university students.

At AOS we have been invited to design the digital life of the festival. A first, early version of the website which will host all this part of the initiative can be seen here: http://vivacosenza.it/viz 

We decided to create some tools which could be used by students and citizens to enact the real-time, participatory narratives of the event, as fundamental part of all of the education, communication and cultural formats which have been designed for the festival.

Using a series of open technologies which we had developed for the ConnectiCity and VersuS projects, we have setup a system which is able to capture in real-time all of the social network activity of citizens, students, visitors, organizations and institutions of the city of Cosenza and also of the people who will use social networks to communicate about the festival and the city from other locations.

A set of language-based technologies will then be used to classify all this information, in real time, being able to understand the themes, issues and subjects which all this information is talking about.

Special focus will be given to the projects created by high-school and university students, who have been asked to create communication formats for the festival, dealing with arts, food culture and new forms of journalism and storytelling. The contents created in these formats will be given special highlight and the best ones will be awarded a prize and be taken into consideration for further development for next year’s edition.

Even more, all of the emergent communication which will be generated in real-time during the festival will be captured from social networks, and visualized both online, on smartphone/tablet applications as well as using a projection mapping in a public space in the city, so that all citizens will be able to experience the digital life of the city directly from public space.

The objective of the platform is to understand the ways in which these kinds of technologies can be used to transform the life of the citizens of the city, to imagine, design and enact novel participatory approaches.

In this, we suggest a new role for institutions, who become promoters and maintainers of new forms of expression which are available and accessible to everyone.

Justas we used technology to create an infrastructure for expression to be used by students to create their own formats, we imagine a “city as a platform” (for example as we suggested in Trieste a few weeks ago), where ubiquitous infrastructure (both cultural and technological) is made accessible and usable through public policies, enabling citizens and city dwellers to basically have the tools to design and build their own digital, cultural, business, communication, storytelling, envisioning ecosystem.

We will start from scratch with the students and, thus, we have setup a basic set of technologies, for them to be used as building blocks for their communication and storytelling formats.

For example, we have setup a platform which will capture all city relevant public content generated on social networks (relevant either because it was generated in the city, or because it discusses on city-relevant issues).

Here below you can see a visualization of the data in the system being captured in realtime:

Data being captured and visualized in Cosenza in realtime

Data being captured and visualized in Cosenza in realtime

The green dots show topic clusters (larger means “more important”), while red dots show user clusters, being connected to the topics they are discussing.

Data can be analyzed according to time, using timelines such as the one below:

the Digital Days of the city of Cosenza

the Digital Days of the city of Cosenza

And users can be analyzed for their activity (how many contents they produce on social networks) and according to the topics they discuss, as seen in the two images below

Digital Citizens in Cosenza

Digital Citizens in Cosenza

 

What digital citizens discuss in Cosenza

What digital citizens discuss in Cosenza

For example, topic clusters can be organized into easy to access groups, thus establishing multiple possible participatory communication formats.

Here, for example, we have assembled some for the beginning of the festival (bars are almost empty for now, as the festival has not begun yet), and by simply clicking them people will access what students and city dwellers have produced, shared and communicated in the specific format, across social networks and sites.

some formats, dedicated to the festival

some formats, dedicated to the festival

It must be highlighted how these technologies allow capturing in real-time the public communications which citizens publish on social networks (for VivaCosenza we will be using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube). So we will capture all (and only) those messages which are intended as being public by their publishers (users/citizens).

Yet this is a delicate issue, as the definitions of privacy, public/private spaces are rapidly changing, and many times people have a hard time in understanding the reach and scope of visibility which the messages they post online have.

We will use this occasion to also explore these important issues: we do not wish to promote a novel form of Panopticon, but a cultural approach according to which individuals and groups can freely decide what and how to communicate, to whom it should be visible and accessible, and to use this information to create opportunities for collaboration, sustainable business, social innovation and art.

So heads up and come at VivaCosenza Performance Lab!

ELMCIP, in Edinburgh, discussing Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice

Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP) is a collaborative research project funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) JRP for Creativity and Innovation. ELMCIP involves seven European academic research partners and one non-academic partner who are investigating how creative communities of practitioners form within a transnational and transcultural context in a globalized and distributed communication environment. Focusing on the electronic literature community in Europe as a model of networked creativity and innovation in practice, ELMCIP is intended both to study the formation and interactions of that community and to further electronic literature research and practice in Europe.

read write reality

read write reality

The partners include: University of Bergen, Norway (PL Scott Rettberg, Co-I Jill Walker Rettberg), Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland (PI Simon Biggs, Co-I Penny Travlou), Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden (PI Maria Engberg, Co-I Talan Memmott), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (PI Yra Van Dijk), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (PI Janez Strechovec), University of Jyväskylä, Finland (PI Raine Koskimaa), University College Falmouth at Dartington, England (PI Jerome Fletcher), and New Media Scotland.

We took part in this project as case studies in the research “Digital Manual: Authority, Authorship and Voice” by Dr Penny Travlou (PI), a cultural geographer, and Dr Smita Kheria (Co-I), a legal scholar in intellectual property law and copyright.

We will present our point of view at the ELMCIP Conference “Remediatng the social” on November 1st 2012.

Here below are the links to the e-book which is among the results of the project:

In the book you will find the article “Rhizomic ethnographies” by Penny Travlou, which gives more details about the parts of the project we have been part of.

 

updates: here below are our slides at the conference

Here below a slideshow describing the story and results of the overall project.

Layers, a workshop on ubiquitous publishing at Ualuba

layers, a workshop un ubiquitous publishing

layers, a workshop un ubiquitous publishing

 

We will be at Ualuba, in Brescia, Italy, on May 19th-20th for LAYERS, an intensive workshop on Ubiquitous Publishing.

 

LAYERS

SALVATORE IACONESI & ORIANA PERSICO

May 19+20 2012
16 hours / 2 days / 1 week
from 9am to 6pm
intensive workshop (registration needed)

at:

Cen­tro Arti&Tecnologie
via Forcello 38/a
25124 Brescia
Italy

 

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

The spaces of contemporary cities are covered by membranes of digital information.

The wide and ubiquitous availability and accessibility of digital technologies and networks transform our perception of spaces.

Ubiquitous publishing technologies and methodologies – such as augmented reality, location based applications, digital tagging and near-field computing – allow to design natural interaction systems in which content, information and experiences become accessible through bodies, objects and architectural spaces.

In the workshop we will design and build an ubiquitous cinematographic experience: an augmented reality movie, disseminated in the city and accessible by traversing its spaces.

 

Minimum requisites:

The workshop is designed in order to be accessible even for people who never had experience in technological design and development.

Main requirements: curiosity, desire to learn and, most of all, to work in collaborative groups.

The workshop is also designed to provide insights about novel uses for technologies to people who already have previous experiences in Java, C++/Objective-C, graphics, animation, mathematical models, environmental and architectural design.

Program:

  • augmented reality context: design methodology for physical spaces which include ubiquitous interactive experiences;
  • interactive ecosystems: design of interactive ecosystems which traverse media and physical spaces;
  • content management systems: how to transform a plain content management system (we will use a WordPress installation during the workshop) into a system which allows to manage ubiquitous content (location-based, tag-based, augmented reality), optimized for use on multiple devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, tablet computer);
  • design of ubiquitous narratives: what is an ubiquitous narrative and how is it possible to design one; non-linear, emergent, multi-author, disseminated in space;
  • accessibility and usability: digital inclusion and alternative strategies; how to include in experiences people who do not possess smartphones;
  • technologies: cocos3D, cocos2D, Android SDK, iOS SDK, OpenGL ES, OpenFrameworks, Processing, QUalcomm AR SDK, PHP, SQL
  • implementation of an ubiquitous cinematographic experience

RWR – READ/WRITE Reality deadline extension and a short video

Many people have asked us to extend the deadline for registration to the RWR Read/Write Reality workshop on ubiquitous publishing.

And so here it is! A deadline extension!

3 more people will be able to register until the 8th of September!

And, in the meantime, here is a short video quickly made while preparing the workshop.