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)

Wearing Emotions by FakePress, presented at the IV10 conference in London, July 2010

Wearing Emotions by FakePress, presented at the IV10 conference in London, July 2010 from salvatore iaconesi on Vimeo.

The video shows the presentation of the paper titled “Wearing Emotions: Physical representation and visualization of human emotions using wearable technologies” presented at the IV10 (Information Visualization 2010) conference at South Bank‘s college in London, on July 26th, 2010.

The paper and presentation describe a research process focused on the scientific research, design and implementation of wearable devices able to display human emotions – be them individual, group or global – on physical bodies.
The devices created in the process have been used to create 3 artistic performances as both proofs of concepts and as innovative forms of artistic and aesthetic expression: Talkers performance, OneAvatar and Conference Biofeedback.

the slides relative to the presentation can be found here:
http://www.slideshare.net/xdxd/wearing-emotions-sifppresentation

the video can be found here:

http://vimeo.com/13779500

or here

http://www.archive.org/details/WearingEmotionsByFakepressPresentedAtTheIv10ConferenceInLondonJuly

on Art is Open Source:

http://www.artisopensource.net/2010/07/31/wearing-emotions-by-fakepress-presented-at-the-iv10-conference-in-london-july-2010/

OneAvatar, wearable technologies connecting body and avatar

OneAvatar, wearable technologies connecting body and avatar

Reference links:

the IV10 conference website:
http://www.graphicslink.co.uk/IV10/

Art is Open Source:
http://www.artisopensource.net/

FakePress:
http://www.fakepress.it/

Talkers Performance:
http://www.artisopensource.net/talkers/

OneAvatar:
http://www.artisopensource.net/OneAvatar/

Conference Biofeedback:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xdxd_vs_xdxd/sets/72157622816765253/

After Consciousness Reframed X, Conference Biofeedback and Ubiquitous Anthropology

This year’s Consciousness Reframed conference has just finished, and we just returned home for a little while.
A sunny Munich hosted the tenth edition of the Planetary Collegium‘s annual conference themed “Experiencing Design, Behaving Media”.

We presented two FakePress projects: Conference Biofeedback and Ubiquitous Anthropology.

Conference Biofeedback @ Consciousness Reframed

Conference Biofeedback @ Consciousness Reframed

The two projects form a continuous line of thought: the emergence of narratives built on interstitial spaces built through technologies on-between bodies, architectures, objects, places. Build new spaces for expression and communication that are overlayed on ordinary reality.

Conference Biofeedback allowes you to acquire new sensibilities directed to the feelings of the people you are talking to. While the USB device that we produced for the conference was somewhat cumbersome (I just finished soldering it at 5am in the morning before leaving for Munich) it provided quite an interesting experience: while i made the presentation, people interacted with the web interface and actually gave me quite a few shocks.

While I always question myself about the interestingness of the things I talk about, I guess the availability of this novelty contributed quite a bit to the great deal of clicking-and-shocking-the-lecturer that was going on among the people in the audience. :)

The project was presented as a “war on boring conferences” but people were truly happy about the implicit possibilites: we discussed about these devices as low information publishing tools that could interact with our common practices by providing externalized sensibilities; and also about the possibilities to break communication codes and create spaces-in-between that can be used for autonomous, self-determined self-expression, beyound authority, control and censorship.

These techno-practices have uses that can provide useful for creativity, commerce, art, information, communication and education. But, most of all, they are an explicit expression of the ways in which contemporary sensibilities might change, they show possible directions towards changes in attitude, in the concepts of public and private spaces, in the adoption of new forms of identity and social collaboration, new politics, new relationships with the environment and with people.

And new expression of the Ethnographic Self are the focus of Ubiquitous Anthropology: multi author, location based narratives that allow to go beyond classic anthropological researches, often expression of single points of view provided by anthropologists and researchers, and to create spaces for the expressions of all the actors involved. Look at the world from the point of view of other people, accepting and valuing different perspectives and individualities. Become multiple by “wearing” the voice of the Other. A perceptive jukebox through which discourses, points of view and sensibilities can truly evolve.

Here is a video of the presentation:

(sorry, it’s the wrong way…. please turn your monitor on the side.. I promise I will never use my iPhone on the side ever again :)  )

The Consciousness Reframed conference was truly worthwhile: lots of friends presenting truly interesting projects and researches. I do advise you to check out the presentation list and the materials that will be published shortly at the conference’s website.

An interesting side note: we just published the book telling the story of Angel_F‘s first year of life. We met Derrick de Kerckhove in Munich and we gave it to him as a present. Here’s a picture below :)

Derrick de Kerckhove and Angel_F

Derrick de Kerckhove and Angel_F

But that’s another story, and we’ll tell you all about it as soon as we get back from AHAcktitude. Our little Angel_F will be there as well, so you might as well drop by if you like.

Stay tuned.