data visualisation of IOT. Stanza connected city by stanza

The Nemesis Machine – From Metropolis to Megalopolis to Ecumenopolis

Intro: The Nemesis Machine is an ever evolving artwork, always different and always expanding. It has become a multi layered installation incorporating concepts of data ownership, surveillance, real time space, urban environments as well as systems based metaphors for interactive and generative spaces. The machine poses the question of who owns the data while speculating that virtual borders will soon create more systems of control. It is always different for each installed set up and is evolving dependent on the situation it becomes exhibited in. In the gallery the work can be shaped formally on the floor or also grow into different spaces. The parts of the city act as a frame for the different expression of data and information. The artwork responds to wireless sensor network and "visualizes" the environment all around us as 'worlds' full of data across the internet. In essence the artwork is a smart city a hybrid internet of things (IOT) installation responding in real time and operates critically between utopian optimism and dystopian dysfunction.

Information The Nemesis Machine becomes a mini, mechanical metropolis that monitors the behaviours, activities, and changing information, of the world around us using networked devices and electronically transmitted information across the internet. The Nemesis Machine has become a large installation which is adapted and customised to each place where it is displayed. The artwork represents the complexities of the real time city as a shifting morphing and complex system. It visualises life in the metropolis on the basis of real time data transmitted from a network of wireless sensors. The artwork you see is a city of electronic components that reflect in real time what is happening elsewhere. Small screens show pictures of the visitors so that they become part of the city.

The artwork reforms this information and data creating parallel realities. At the heart of this work lies an interest in the urban environment, the networks of cameras and sensors to be found there, and the associated issue of privacy and control. The artwork sits in the middle of concepts for smart cities, The Internet of Things( IOT) and the new technologies that monitors the real time environment. In appearance, the Nemesis Machine is like Big Brother parsed through the lens of the Internet of things. It gives visitors a bird's eye view of a cybernetic cityscape, where skyscrapers are constructed of silicon and circuit boards.

The data and their interactions – that is, the events occurring in the environment that surrounds and envelops the installation – are translated into the force that brings the electronic city to life by causing movement and change; that is, new events and actions to occur. In this way the city performs itself, in real time, through its physical avatar or electronic double. The city we see performs itself through an-other city. Cause and effect become apparent in a discreet, intuitive manner. When certain events occur in the real city they cause certain other events to occur in its completely different, but seamlessly incorporated, double. The avatar city is not only controlled by the real city in terms of its function and operation, but also utterly dependent upon it for its existence.

The artwork also focuses on how we consciously or unconsciously influence each other, and also the degree to which technology may in future take over control of our own bodies and our presence in the city. This is a city where there is no privacy. The Nemesis Machine asks how new technologies can imagine a world where we are liberated and empowered, where finally all of the technology becomes more than gimmick and starts to actually work for us. Or will these technologies as the machine suggests control us, separate us, divide us, create more borders as the machine spreads to encompass the whole world. This city governs itself and its actions and intelligence is completely controlled by data based on the interactions and flows of data.


CUBO Bologna, Italy. 2019
Ffoto Gallery Diffusion, Cardiff Wales. 2019
Cynetart Dresden Germany 2018
Speculum Artrium Decades Trbovlje Slovenia 2018
Measures Of Life Lumen UK Hull 2018
Future Festival Nesta UK London 2018
Beyond The Warsaw Poland 2017
York Art Gallery. UK 2017
WRO Art Centre Wroclaw Poland 2017
The Internet of Things World Forum Cisco Systems. Tobacco Dock London 2017
Dundee Contemporary Arts at Centrespace (VCR) NEoN. Dundee 2016
Hacking Habitat Art of Control Utrecht Netherlands. 2016
The Intelligent City Arentshuis Bruges Museum 2015

Touring. This artwork is available for exhibitions please get in touch. It is always different for each installed set up and is an evolving artwork. In the gallery the work can be shaped formally on the floor or also grow into different shapes and spaces.

Scale and Size depends on the venue and it is variable in several approximate sizes:

A. Small 3 m by 4m (12 metres)
B. Medium 4m by 6m. (24 metres)
C. Large version (50 metres and much larger is available).
D. Extra Large version (80 metres -150 metres square and much larger is available. ).


This is an ever evolving and changing artwork. I am developing new areas and several new concepts and data types are being introduced into largest version while now investigating AI across the city.

Further Development. I would also like to make a much bigger version four times as big. If you can fund this it would be 15m by 15m up to 200 square metres.

Videos Below.

See 50 metres version below..

stanza art connecting cities of data

Image from Poland Warsaw. 2017

data visualisation of IOT. Stanza.Smart city.

Image from London for CISCO systems. 2017

Stanza data visualisation IOT

Image from Dresden Germany 2018


Watch the video.

The Nemesis Machine – From Metropolis to Megalopolis to Ecumenopolis from Stanza on Vimeo.

The Nemesis Machine – From Metropolis to Megalopolis to Ecumenopolis. Hacking Habitat Version from Stanza on Vimeo.

The Nemesis Machine suggests a global panoptic experience of connected devices which is oscillates between a cyberpunk dystopian nightmare to a utopian social enagement perspectiveof embedded technologies as the machine seeks to become ecumenopolis. This data flows like a liquid, the capital system of which we are now co-conspirators or co-laborators. The age of privacy is over. Imagine walking out the door, and knowing every single action, movement, sound, micro movement, pulse, and thread of information is being tracked, monitored, stored, analyzed, interpreted, and logged. The world we will live in seems to be a much bigger brother than the Orwellian vision, it is the mother of big brother.

These current works go further towards inviting the city and the people that inhabit it to populate and become the artwork. From the previous generative and interactive art such as The Central City, (1997) the artworks have moved to open systems that collect and re-appropriate real-time data to create multifaceted ‘urban tapestries' such as the Urban Generation (Stanza, 2004) . Even more recent installations consists of two elements: a physical installation within the gallery space made from hundreds of electronic components such as fans, leads and motors, which resembles a miniature electronic city; and a tailor-made network of wireless sensors that is embedded within the gallery space and the urban landscape that surrounds it, and which collects data from its environment. The data collected include GPS positions, humidity, noise, temperature, and light' (Stanza, 2008 onwards).

“What I’m doing, is that I’m hacking access to a network and re-appropriating the data and information, and I’m re-contextualizing it to give it a wider meaning; data is the medium of the age. The real world is made virtual and then real again across the internet.”

stanza city artwork, data

Stanza,  data artwork

Stanza data art project

Image from Wroclaw Poland 2017

Stanza surveillance and art project
Stanza real time data installation Hacking Habitat
Stanza real time data installation Hacking Habitat
Stanza, CCTV artwork

Technical Details

I have been researching wireless sensor networks, smart cities and the internet of things since 2004. I use motes sensors in a network and I have custom built software that gathers data and places the data online via a java proxy server. The data used to create the visualizations is also made available in an open source environment. Because the data is networked other online users can also re- interpret the data and interrogate the various sensors in the network (via xml streams online). The various sensors monitor temperature, sounds, noise, light, vibration, humidity, and GPS in real time.The artwork has local sensors that monitor the gallery as well as the city, embedded cameras and live data feeds.


Stanza surveillance and art project  , Stanza,
Stanza surveillance and art project Stanza surveillance and art project


Stanza surveillance and art project
data visualisation of  IOT


Underlying conceptual theme.

We understand the 20th century in terms of atoms, molecules and gases that move. Our world is now a world of numbers and changing data and information. This art installation manipulates these numbers and the data from the living real world; all of this affects the installation i.e. the artwork in the gallery space and all the changes occur in real time.

The real world is made virtual and the virtual is made real again and exposed in the process. This whole piece is a living and breathing artwork. The project focuses on the micro-incidents of change, the vibrations and sounds of the environment using wireless sensor based technologies.


Keywords: Online, netart, artwork, system, generative.


ARt about surveillance and privacy of data
ARt about surveillance and privacy of data
ARt about surveillance and privacy of data
ARt about surveillance and privacy of data
Stanza real time data installation
Stanza real time data installation
Stanza real time data installation

Hacking Habitat Art of Control Utrecht Netherlands curated by Ine Gervers. 2016

Smart city, IOT Internet of things , Dundee Contemporary Art, Stanza,
Dundee Contemporay Arts at Centrespace (VCR) NEoN. Dundee 2016 (above) Size of this install. 350cm by 530 cm ie 18.5 sq metres (gallery size 550cm by 730 cm)
Dundee Contemporay Arts at Centrespace (VCR) NEoN. Dundee 2016 (above)
Dundee Contemporay Arts at Centrespace (VCR) NEoN. Dundee 2016 (above)
Dundee Contemporay Arts at Centrespace (VCR) NEoN. Dundee 2016 (above) Curated by Sarah Cook
data visualisation of  IOT
Stanza,  data artwork

Stanza artwork. IOT internet of things artwork

Images from Bruges Musuem. Installed on Plinth. ( small version 4 metres square)

POLISH. O warszawskiej wystawie Centrum Sztuki WRO rozmawiałyśmy z Anną Desponds w 13. odcinku dwutygodnikowego podkastu ODBIORNIK. Wystawa stworzyła przemawiającą i mroczną wizję przyszłości – lub alternatywnej rzeczywistości – w Domu Słowa Polskiego. 7 prac w gigantycznej ciemnej przestrzeni starej drukarni złożyło się na wizję świata, w którym nie ma już ludzi, ciał, drzew, i to nie szkodzi, bo to, co jest, działa na zupełnie innych zasadach. Jest jak wspólna świadomość w buddyzmie, tylko tu to wspólnota danych, jak w instalacji Stanzy „The Nemesis Machine. From Metropolis to Megalopolis to Ecumenopolis”. Była to makieta Londynu stworzona w całości z elektronicznych komponentów i sieci komunikacyjnych – płyt głównych i obwodów. To miasto wizualizuje w czasie rzeczywistym dane płynące z sieci londyńskich czujników, które monitorują temperaturę, dźwięki, hałas, światło, wibracje, wilgotność powietrza oraz sygnał położenia GPS. Umieszczone w instalacji kamery pokazują wizerunki zwiedzających, dzięki czemu oni również stają się częścią tego wielkiego organizmu-miasta. Świat przyszłości zużył nie tylko planetę, ale połknął też człowieka, by stać się nową formą świadomości. Jakoś tam tego człowieka nie brakowało specjalnie.

GERMAN. The Nemesis Machine ist ein Kunstwerk, das sowohl unser Verhalten als auch den Datenstrom über vernetzte Geräte und über das Internet abbildet. Die Nemesis-Maschine wird dabei zu einer großen Installation, die an jedem Ort, an dem sie ausgestellt wird, angepasst wird. Im Fall der CYNETART jedoch nicht an Dresden oder die Gartenstadt Hellerau, sondern an Hong Kong. Das Kunstwerk stellt die Komplexität des Ortes in Echtzeit dar, als ein sich veränderndes und komplexes System. Es visualisiert das Leben in der Metropole auf der Basis von Echtzeitdaten, die von einem Netzwerk drahtloser Sensoren übertragen werden. Die Arbeit ist eine Stadt der elektronischen Komponenten. Es spiegelt in Echtzeit wieder, was anderswo passiert. Kleine Bildschirme zeigen Bilder von den Besuchern, so dass diese Teil der Stadt werden.

SLOVENE. The Nemesis Machine je mini mehanska metropola, ki nadzoruje obnašanja, delovanje in spreminjanje informacij v svetu okoli nas. Za ta namen uporablja povezane naprave in elektronsko mediirane informacije poslane preko interneta. The Nemesis Machine je postala velika inštalacija, ki je prilagojena in prirejena vsakemu prostoru kjer je razstavljena. Umetniško delo predstavlja kompleksnost realno-časovnega mesta kot spreminjajoč kompleksni sistem. Na osnovi realno-časovnih podatkov, sprejetih preko mreže brezžičnih senzorjev vizualizira življenje v metropoli. Umetniško delo ki ga vidite, je mesto elektronskih komponent, ki realnem času odsevajo kaj se dogaja drugje. Majhni zasloni kažejo slike obiskovalcev, tako da tudi te postanejo del mesta. Umetniško delo preobliči te informacije in podatke ter ustvari paralelne realnosti. V osrčju tega dela leži interes za urbano okolje; mreže kamer in senzorjev, ki se nahajajo v njem, ter povezana vprašanja zasebnosti in kontrole. Umetniško delo je presečišče konceptov pametnih mest, interneta stvari (The Internet of Things – IOT) in novih tehnologij, ki nadzorujejo realno-časovno okolje. V izgledu je the Nemesis Machine kot Veliki Brat (Big Brother) razdeljen skozi lečo (perspektivo) interneta stvari. Obiskovalcem ponuja ptičji pogled kibernetske mestne perspektive, kjer so nebotičniki zgrajeni iz silicija in vezij. Podatki in njihove interakcije – dogodki, ki se dogajajo v okolju, ki obkroža in omejuje inštalacijo – so spremenjeni v silo, ki animira mesto v življenje s povzročanjem premikanja in spremembe; oziroma drugače, spremenjeni so v nove dogodke in dejanja. Na ta način mesto igra samega sebe v realnem času preko svoje fizične poosebitve ali elektronskega dvojnika. Mesto katerega vidimo igra samega sebe skozi drugo mesto. Vzrok in posledica postaneta očitna na diskreten in intuitiven način. Ko se neko dejanje zgodi v resničnem mestu, povzroči da se drug dogodek zgodi v njegovem popolnoma drugem, a popolnoma vključenem dvojniku. Poosebitveno mesto ni zgolj kontrolirano s strani resničnega mesta v smislu funkcije in operacij, ampak je popolnoma odvisno od njega za svoj obstoj. Umetniško delo se prav tako osredotoča na to kako zavedno ali nezavedno vplivamo drug na drugega in na stopnjo, do katere bo tehnologija v prihodnjosti, prevzela kontrolo nad našimi telesi in prisotnostjo v mestu. To je mesto kjer ni zasebnosti. The Nemesis Machine se sprašuje kako lahko nove tehnologije predstavijo svet, v katerem smo osvobojeni in opolnomočeni; kjer ta tehnologija končno postane več kot zgolj domislica in začne resnično delati za nas. Ali pa nas bodo, kot stroj to nakazuje, te tehnologije kontrolirale, delile, razdvajale in ustvarjale več meja.

DUTCH .Gangmaker voor “Triënnale Brugge 2015” STANZA’S “THE INTELLIGENT CITY”: WE ZIJN GEZIEN!

Vanaf 20 mei komen ongetwijfeld interessante, leuke, pittige antwoorden op deze vragen. Een interessante denkpiste werd eerder dit jaar al geopend door de Amerikaanse Ellen Harvey. Deze had vanuit New York gemerkt dat Brugge vlak bij zee ligt en dat daar nooit gewag van gemaakt wordt. Velen lijken het niet te weten, of zijn het vergeten. Niet zo de Brugse burgemeester (tevens schepen voor cultuur, toerisme en de haven). De haven is een meerwaarde, maar het Brugse strand blijkt niet geliefd. Harvey zette in het Groeninge sowieso een knappe expo op. Andere creatievelingen met naam en faam waren ondertussen al in de stad en zijn momenteel ideeën aan het uitwerken. Ook Brugse culturele verenigingen springen in de dans en “indoor” zal ook een en ander te zien zijn. Zoals momenteel in het Arentshuis. De Londense kunstenaar Stanza, sinds decennia gefascineerd door de problematiek verstedelijking, privacy en vervreemding, palmt er een ruimte in voor zijn “stad van de toekomst”. Een grootstad in het klein, opgebouwd uit niets dan computeronderdelen. Maar liefst 14 dagen had hij in Brugge nodig om zijn stad van de toekomst op te bouwen. Strakke, monotone hoogbouw en overal schermpjes waarop cijfermateriaal aantikt, talloze lichtjes die ononderbroken aan- en uitflikkeren, en dit alles gegenereerd door “data” die in real-time vanuit zijn Zuid-Londens sensorennetwerk komen. Voorts betrekken kleine camera’s de bezoeker in het geheel. Aan de wanden een reeks schilderijen (prints) waarin wegen en rivieren dermate verkleind zijn dat ze eigenlijk fraaie, maar tegelijk bizarre soorten abstracte schilderijen reveleren.

In de brochure lees ik: “The Nemesis Machine: van metropolis tot megapolis tot oecumenopolis”. Dit klinkt me wat onheilspellend in de oren. Is Nemesis immers niet de Griekse godin van de weerwraak? Stanza bouwt, creëert en verbindt, maar laat een opening voor de bezoeker: zullen we er in de (verre?) toekomst in slagen de technologie voor ons te laten werken of gaan de nieuwe technieken ons beheersen, verdelen, van elkaar vervreemden en nog meer grenzen scheppen? Een jonge bezoeker uit Berlijn vertelt ons dat hij normalerwijs niet zou schrikken van zo’n “futuristische” installatie, maar dat hij dat na twee dagen Brugge blijkbaar wél heeft gedaan. Verrassend blijkbaar zo’n beeldende, met de realiteit verbonden suggestie in de aloude stede. Even heeft Stanza wat tijd om te filosoferen. Dat elke auto die Londen vandaag binnenrijdt geregistreerd wordt, dat steden naar elkaar toe groeien, op elkaar gelijken, dat in Londen pubs plaats maken voor…kerken. Dat ook digitaal de kloof rijk-arm almaar groter gaat worden.” In de hal staat “Body 0100001001101111011001000111001”, een sculptuur gebaseerd op een 3d-scan van de kunstenaar en gemaakt van leds, motors, kabels en speciaal ontworpen elektronica. “The Body…” reageert op verschillen in temperatuur, licht, luchtdruk, geluid, zoals ze zich voortdoen in Zuid-London, waar Stanza’s sensoren-netwerk zich bevindt. De Body blijft tot 18 oktober, maar wie “The Intelligent City” wil zien heeft maar tijd tot 10 mei.

Johan DEBRUYNE “Stanza - The Intelligent City”, Arentshuis,


The Nemesis Machine By Stanza. data art and systems

Image from Dresden Germany 2018

data art and systems

data art and systemsStanza data and the city

Shots from CYNETART. Vertical Install. Image from Dresden Germany 2018