Archive for the ‘references’ Category

Residency at FACT Liverpool. The City Re-imagined 2010.

March 11th, 2011

A series of artworks centered in Liverpool by Stanza from a residency at FACT. These artworks are about the re-imagined  city and how we react to the changing space around us. They are focused on our relationship to urban space and how by incorporating live data and inforomation and surveillance (CCTV) images, different representations of Liverpool and as a living breathing entity can emerge. The works are provocations that relate to our hopes and aspirations for the spaces around us.

In these artworks I set out to explore public domain space in innovative ways following on from my first Ropewalks Square proposal to FACT( and to make artworks exploring the use of live data CCTV in public space. The works are located between art, urbanism, and surveillance culture and they focus on the ethics and ownership of public spaces and how they are used.  The work includes ten interventions and artworks which  are all online (see below). I have tried to create narratives that demonstrate innovation and ethics of space and in several projects used an audience or local people to be involved in the works.

Included in the body of artwork are sensors that monitors spaces for environmental change. Another artwork proposes to extend the building at FACT virtually by projecting CCTV into Ropewalks Square and across the city. Another is a spy frog that talks, and a series of new public squares have been made across the city with minimal aesthetic were one can go to contemplate just what is going on.

These projects like are like seeds. They have been planted and now they need watering. I hope you enjoy the work.

Public Domain: Series III.

Stanza Artwork Live CCTV

Live CCTV across the city. Continuing the series of investigations into the uses of CCTV to extend space and invoke impressions of transparency with architectural space. Here to extend the architecture of the building and extend it into the city. The artwork includes the performative aspect of those being watched as can be displayed inside the work.

We have nothing to hide only to loose.

Stanza Artwork

A performative piece using CCTV systems. The CCTV follows the artist around the building in the depths of the night and the result is projected outside in the city.

Regeneration Squares.

Stanza Artwork

Re-animating and remapping the city. This project involves making new public squares in the city to make a regeneration of the city. Here area selection of these new squares in Liverpool. In addition I invite the public to find these squares and present situations to intervene and to regenerate these new public spaces.


Stanza Artwork

Stanza Artwork

This is an online artwork using images from across the city, representing the struggle for change. The street was known as the Bond Street of the North, it was in the past a toll road. The working classes would go to work under the road in tunnels and enter via back doors of the expensive shops; never to be seen by the rich, thus kept separate. The city has a new “Bond Street” the L1 area. It is a cathedral of commerce separate from the issues that exist everywhere else in the city.

Binary Graffiti Club.

Stanza Artwork

Inspiring young people to see the city as canvas to create change. This is a selection of images that represents the hopes and aspirations of young people set in various contexts in especially made binary hoodies.

Data data data

stanza Artwork. Live sensor data. 2010

A live projection of environmental changes. Sensors scattered over the building respond to changes in space in real time. They are turned into an event space projected into ropewalks square. This artwork is networked, its real time, and its takes data from a wireless sensor network that is placed in the real space.

Mental Memes.

Stanza Artwork. 2010

The idea is to create a visual regeneration with the mind. I want to use space and time at a football match for an artistic intervention. The idea is to see the mind as a public domain space for this intervention; and to make an artwork using this space.  This project is about giving some time back to a collective entity, a visualisation for a common good to empower the space around us. In this case the city. It might be a simple mind map or it could be a complex linking of all the heartbeats of the audience.


Stanza Artwork. 2010

From the first UK soundmap project, here are 200 sounds from all over Liverpool, Gathering assets for mediated visualisations across Liverpool. (

an online artwork using images from across the city, representing the struggle for change.


Stanza Artwork. 2010

Robotic sculpture frogs see people and tell them what to do. The programmed frogs can talk and as you walk passed them they tell you what they think.

In God We Trust.

Stanza Artwork. 2010

The idea was to collect data in the house of god to monitors His presence. Sensing God with environmental monitors. The data is turned into sounds and visuals. ie a sonification of God space and a visualization thus questioning our belief systems.


A proposal to cover Ropewalks and to create a unique arcade. Moving away from old metaphors of Liverpool’s imperial history, to create a newer global image, digital and creative, a vibrant risk taking culture that is  independent, free thinking and global.

All artwork Stanza. 2010

390,000 to access child database

January 29th, 2009

A child protection database containing the contact details for all under 18-year-olds in England will be accessible to 390,000 staff, say ministers. The Contact Point database is intended to improve information sharing between professionals working with children Children’s Minister Baroness Morgan said parents would not be allowed to remove their children from the list.

The Conservatives attacked the £224m database as “another expensive data disaster waiting to happen”. The Liberal Democrats have also previously opposed what they called an “intrusive and expensive project”.

Baroness Morgan is crazy…..this is a blunder waiting to happen, and what happened to childrens rights. This is an ID system for our kids. I don’t even want my child on this list. What happened to allowing parents a say. Allowing 390,000 people access is just sort of insane. Why not just put it all up on the internet and be done with it.

So no I  don’t want my child on your database, and the image below is copyright.

It shows Amber Stanza, not to be used without permission and cannot be stored on any retrieval system without written permission.

Copyright Image by Stanza

Image shows Amber Stanza, not to be used without permission and cannot be stored on any retrieval system without written permission.

Some Cities. Our relations with cities are like our relations with people. We love them, hate them, or are indifferent toward them.Victor Burgin.

December 18th, 2008
Copyright Image by Stanza

Copyright Image by Stanza 2004. Shanghai.

Copyright Image by Stanza . Title. The Brilliant City Shanghai 2004

“Our relations with cities are like our relations with people. We love them, hate them, or are indifferent toward them. On our first day in a city that is new to us, we go looking for the city. We go down this street, around that corner. We are aware of the faces of passers-by. But the city eludes us, and we become uncertain whether we are looking for a city, or for a person.”

Victor Burgin recalls some of the cities he has known in a way familiar to all who have traveled, by showing photographs and telling anecdotes. Some Cities gathers places and moments along a life route that the author has taken from the north of England to his present home in northern California. Stops on the way include such disparate sites as London, Berlin and Warsaw; Singapore, Woomera and Tokyo; New York and San Francisco; and the islands of Stromboli and Tobago.

Some Cities is unlike anything Burgin has ever done before, although it explores characteristic themes of his earlier theoretical and visual works, such as the dimensions of politics and sexuality in everyday life.

“Burgin traces his life’s route from the north of England through such metropolises as London, Berlin, Singapore, Tokyo, New York and San Francisco in brilliant black and white photographs and in anecdotes presented in immaculate prose.”—The Guardian

City links and mobile city projects (mainly with phones)

December 3rd, 2008

Here is a selection of city links and mobile city art projects (mainly with phones). Pervasive media in the city.

Public Authoring in the Wireless City Urban Tapestries is the name of a research project and experimental software platform for knowledge mapping and sharing – public authoring – conceived and developed by Proboscis in partnership with collaborators such as the London School of Economics, Birkbeck College, Orange, HP Research labs, France Telecom R&D UK, Ordnance Survey. The Urban Tapestries software platform allows people to author their own virtual annotations of the city, enabling a community’s collective memory to grow organically, allowing ordinary citizens to embed social knowledge in the new wireless landscape of the city. People can add new locations, location content and the ‘threads’ which link individual locations to local contexts, which are accessed via handheld devices such as PDAs and mobile phones.

The Mobile Bristol Centre was a programme investigating how mobile devices and pervasive information technology can be used to enhance the ways in which residents and visitors experience and interact with their physical environment and with each other in urban and public spaces.
Imagine a digital landscape overlaying the physical world. As we walk around this landscape, we can tap into the digital sounds, sights and interactions that are positioned in the landscape and activated by our presence and actions. The digital landscape is formed from a dynamic and overlapping set of mediascapes which are context-sensitive combinations of digital media and interactions created and deployed by various authors. The project has created a toolkit, which provides a digital canvas over the physical landscape onto which digital experiences can be painted and new commercial opportunities can be explored. As people walk through the physical environment, a diverse range of digital media experiences augment the ambiance and bring these spaces alive.

The client software that we are developing for Mobile Bristol is capable of finding, downloading and interpreting the application specifications developed on our authoring tools. It provides a set of built-in capabilities to detect and respond to changes in the sensed environment, to download, cache, render and capture a variety of media types, and to exchange messages with other clients and with services. This led to mscape.

NML: Neighbourhood Markup Language by David Rokeby.ccess is possible from any wireless networked portable computing device with a GPS unit.
The user would be able to configure the device to continuously scan the content attached to the immediate vicinity for the presence of annotations, with customizable filters to reduce local data clutter to those of greatest interest to the user. Things already accessed would be marked as read and filtered out as well, unless intentionally called up. As the aim is not to further fragment public space by encouraging people to walk around with faces glued to small LCD screens, audio would be a preferred format for the annotations.

The device would indicate, perhaps through vibration, when data comes into range. On the other hand, a discrete but distinctive audible indicator (the social calls of crickets or frogs?) might be interesting as a signifier of data reception. Having a sound that is not personalizable might result in a positive confusion: “It was not my device, but then what is here that someone else is interested in…” Browsing or searching the entire set of annotations for one’s current position would be possible through a familiar web-style interface.

The objective of the GiMoDig project is to develop and test methods for delivering geospatial data to a mobile user by means of real-time data-integration and generalisation. The project aims at the creation of a seamless data service providing access, through a common interface, to the primary topographic geo-databases maintained by the National Mapping Agencies (NMAs) in various countries. A special emphasis will be put on providing appropriately generalised map data to the user depending on a mobile terminal with limited display capabilities.

The exhibition explored how mobile and wireless media reconfigure social, cultural and information space? Looking beyond computing in its current form, towards the social and cultural possibilities opened by a new generation of networked, location-aware media. Seeking an art of mobile communications: are there any forms of expression that are intrinsic or unique to mobile and wireless media. It explored how artists are responding to new ways of seeing, sensing and representing: radar, sonar, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular, GIS, etc. The exhibition probed new horizons in wireless and mobile media, and looked at the diverse ways in which artists and technical innovators are pushing the limits, and soliciting unexpected or unforeseen results from communication media past and present, from the radio to mobile telephony and wireless LAN. Some are seeking to make visible and audible the signals and transmissions that fill the air around us, exploring the potential of interfaces unfettered by wires and cables for performance or interaction, or the kinds of communication and creative expression that emerge within networks with no fixed centre, but rather multiple, mobile nodes.

CitiTag is a wireless location-based multiplayer game, designed to enhance spontaneous social interaction and novel experiences in city environments by integrating virtual presence with physical. In the first version of CitiTag you roam the city with a GPS- and WiFi-enabled iPaq PocketPC in search for players of the opposite team that you can ‘tag’. You can also get tagged yourself if one of them gets close to you. Then you need to find a friend to free you. Urban space becomes a playground and everyone is a suspect.

In the 21st century, the historically unique epoch of growth that began with industrialization 200 years ago will come to an end. In particular, climate change, dwindling fossil sources of energy, demographic aging, and rationalization in the service industry will lead to new forms of urban shrinking and a marked increase in the number of shrinking cities. To illuminate this, the project Shrinking Cities. Within the next twenty years, the fossil fuels crude oil, natural gas, and coal will reach their maximum production levels, after which they will begin to decline, while global energy demands rise. Mobility and energy supply will become considerably more expensive, which will lead to a change in settlement structures.

SenseWeb is a peer produced sensor network that consists of sensors deployed by contributors across the globe. It allows developing sensing applications that use the shared sensing resources and our sensor querying and tasking mechanisms. SensorMap is one such application that mashes up sensor data from SenseWeb on a map interface, and provides interactive tools to selectively query sensors and visualize data, along with authenticated access to manage sensors.


As mobile phones and computers become more complex, the range of media that affect our experiences of cities has expanded. What makes a city meaningful to us is not just its bricks and mortar, but the texts we read, people we talk to and experiences we have. Maps, conversations and images of a city all influences our activity and enjoyment. City focuses on bridging or blurring the boundaries between these different media. The systems we build mix local interactions and remote collaboration, using ubicomp technology, digital maps, virtual environments and hypermedia.

Air. Participants or “carriers” are able to see pollutant levels in their current locations, as well as simultaneously view measurements from the other AIR devices in the network. An on-board GPS unit and digital compass, combined with a database of known pollution sources such as power plants and heavy industries, allow carriers to see their distance from polluters as well. The AIR devices regularly transmit data to a central database allowing for real time data visualization on this website.

SensorPlanet is a Nokia-initiated cooperation, a global research framework, on mobile device-centric large-scale Wireless Sensor Networks. The results of SensorPlanet are 1) a test platform that enables the collection of sensor data on a never seen scale, and 2) a central repository for sharing the collected sensor data for research purposes.

Manhattan Story Mashup is an urban game, taking place on September 23rd 2006 in Manhattan, New York City. During the event, approximately 250 players will move around Manhattan, taking photos which match a given target.

Unlike scientific applications, the hardware is not owned and managed by a small number of central authorities. Citizens carry sensors and contribute data voluntarily. A single entity does not pose interesting ‘hypotheses,’ design experiments, force participation. Instead, the process of learning from an urban environment can be organic and decentralized, existing more in the realm of social networking software. However, the power of this network still comes from our ability to verify the context of shared data, to actuate (to filter, identify and respond to events); to aggregate data in space and time; and to allow individuals to coordinate activities.

We are interested in applying the people-centric sensing concept to the problem of detecting and tracking mobile events (e.g., a lost child’s voice, a teenager’s disruptive car stereo). There are a number of challenges in building a mobile event tracking system using people-based mobile sensors. First, mobile sensors need to be tasked before sensing can begin and only those mobile sensors near the target event should be tasked for the system to scale effectively

Jabberwocky captures a unique, synergistic moment – expanding urban populations, rapid adoption of Bluetooth mobile devices, and widespread influence of wireless technology across our urban landscapes. The United Nations has recently reported that 48 percent of the world’s population current live in urban areas and that this number is expected to exceed the 50 percent mark by 2007, thus marking the first time in history that the world will have more urban residents than rural residents. abberwocky is a free, device independent software that can be installed on your own mobile phone. Jabberwocky uses the industry standard MIDP 2.0 (Mobile Information Device Profile). MIDP 2.0 provides a flexible standard for developing and deploying applications across a wide range of mobile phones and PDAs.

Sashay is a mobile phone application that leverages the fact that every fixed mobile phone cell tower transmits a unique ID that can be read within the phone’s software. As a user moves throughout an urban landscape this “cell ID” changes. Sashay keeps track of the temporal patterns, history, and adjacencies of these cell encounters to help it build a visualization of connected “places”.

Measuring familiar strangers (bluetooth), friends (bluetooth), distance from “city center” (GPS), air quality (onboard atmospheric sensors), nearby traffic patterns (RSS feeds), etc. a “score” is determined and displayed as a personal steganography visualization. The name comes from steganography which is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one apart from the intended recipient knows of the existence of the message.

Stanza talk at Force of Metadata Goldsmiths Symposium

November 21st, 2008

Stanza will be talking at Goldsmiths Media Research Centre and Centre for Cultural Studies
Symposium: Force of Metadata Goldsmiths, University of London
November 29, 2008, 9.30 am – 18.30 pm
Metadata rules the web. Its power goes beyond merely ordering descriptions of data. Metadata administers access, pre-decides preferences, enables surveillance, automates transtextuality, and shapes our experience. As metadata management becomes more and more effective and ubiquitous, it is time to ask: Are we witnessing the birth of a new regime of attention, of media control and media power? What are its chances, constraints and power relations? How does a social imaginary operate with the means and within the limits of metadata management? Can metadata acquire the power to generate content? Is it, indeed, productive itself?

9.30 – 9.45 Welcome: Scott Lash (Goldsmiths)
9.45 – 11.15 Chair: Jennifer Bajorek (Goldsmiths) Bernard Stiegler (Centre Pompidou): The Alternative of Metadata: Automated Voluntary Servitude or Economy of Contribution
11.15 – 11.30 Refreshments
11.30 – 13.00 Chair : Robert Zimmer (Goldsmiths) Götz Bachmann (Goldsmiths): The Power of Metadata Time Yuk Hui (Goldsmiths):  The production of Networks and the Networks of Production Kuan Foo (Bocconi): Innovation, Metadata and Firm Growth

14.30 – 16.30 Chair: Olga Goriunowa (Goldsmiths) Harry Halpin (Edinburgh): Metadata and the Dialectics of Posthumanism

Stanza (Artist, London): The Emergent City. Presenting Data from security tracking, traffic, and environmental monitoring

Lev Manovich (UC San Diego): Information Wants to be ASCII

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Artist, Montreal): Antimonuments and Subsculptures

Copyright Image by Stanza

Image shows live data being visualisation using motes ad hoc wireless sensors placed around goldsmiths  college.  From stanza’s project Sensity.

The day before Lev Manovich visited my studio in the Goldsmiths  Digital studios.  I was showing him my research  work, media visualisations,  sonifications , the sensity project, and images from my software that make time-scapes.  We were  meeting because I had asked Lev to write a text / essay on my new work.  The writing  commission on this body of work  (data visualisations and  the emergent cities series)  Helen Sloan of  Scan and The Watershed have agreed to  pay the commission a year earlier and at last I  have found someone I  thought could do it.. ( Not that  Helen was keen)

Google are our big brothers. Masters of our Universe.

July 7th, 2008

And we thought google was just a search. Well, for the past few years they have come up with some cool tools. But now it seems their cards are on the table, their intentions are clear. Its world domination by surveillance culture. We are just data and google aims to “own” us.

Think of  Will Smith in the film “Enemy of The State”, and then maybe we are getting close. Google in two months, two years, or twenty years.  Maybe its cool we can all watch each other going peacefully about out business as long as google make our faces blurred, what planet are google on, google earth?…yeah right.

So just what are Googles longer term intentions here? Spying on us through serach algorithms in the digital world is one thing, tracking us via open internet is another….time for the ethical debate to be brought to the centre stage with some creative input other than it makes the world a safer place.


Google has defended its controversial Street View photo-mapping tool, saying it will meet local privacy laws in European countries at launch.

The tool, which matches real world photos to mapped locations, has drawn fire from some privacy campaigners.

In the UK, Privacy International said the tool could breach data protection laws if people’s faces were shown.

Google has said it is using face blurring technology to preserve the privacy of individuals photographed.

“In our view they need a person’s consent if they make use of a person’s face for commercial ends,” Simon Davies, of Privacy International told BBC News.

Street View has already been launched in the US and includes photos of streets in major American cities. Photographing of areas in the UK, including London, is believed to have started last week.

Mr Davies has written to Google asking for details of the face-blurring technology, saying he would ask the UK Information Commissioner to intervene if he did not receive a satisfactory response.

He told BBC News that he was concerned that Google’s technology would not work.

Google’s senior privacy counsel Jane Horvath has responded saying that the technology had already been deployed.

So Jane I guess thats all right then is it.?

Copyright Image by Stanza

Copyright Image by Stanza: Globals live visualusation of media over the net 2004

Shows my live maps work from 2004… google maps can just take what they  want.

They  even have a photo of me in my house on google earth that they  took just as the google van passed…( glad I had my shorts on)..? Will google become the enemy of the state? ….

Stanza image from 2004. Global…Never the same again always different….forever.” by Stanza 2004


July 1st, 2008

Video installation by Bruce Nauman.

Live Taped Video Corridor (1970)

In Live/Taped Video Corridor, you walk down a long, very narrow corridor. At the end of the corridor there are two monitors on top of each other. The lower one shows a video tape of the corridor, the upper one shows a live (CCTV) video of the corridor, shot from a camera at a height of about 3 meters, at the entrance of the corridor. The effect is that as you walk down the corridor, you see yourself from the back, and as you approach the monitor you get further away from the camera so you never really get any closer to “yourself”.

Corridor Installation (Nick Wilder Installation) 1971 consists of an inaccessible room and six corridors, three of which may be entered. Navigating these spaces we encounter a series of television monitors that relay our image taken by CCTV cameras. The positioning of the cameras is such that the information displayed on the monitors contradicts that of actual experience: we are left with a feeling of confusion and even isolation.

To enter these works is to become a performer, yet at no time are we in control. Such are the spatial limitations that we can only make a limited number of responses, predetermined by the artist: ‘Whatever ways you could use it were so limited that people were bound to have more or less the same experiences I had.’ Viewed by some invisible authority, we become like rats in a cage, revealing generic patterns of human behaviour.

Vito Acconci, ‘Following Piece’ 1969

Vito Acconci, like Nauman, was also one of the first artists to really experiment with surveillance in his art. In Acconci’s ‘Following piece’1969, he took his surveillance to the streets and over the course of a month he closely filmed and documented the movements of anyone that happened to cross his path. Without the control and predictability of a gallery space, his films were documents of ‘real life’ as it occurred, and with them ranging from a few minutes to a few hours in length, it was an exaggerated exploration into the idea of ‘Big Brother is watching you’: it also analysed the intusion of personal space within a public area.

Julia Scher – ‘Security by Julia IX’ 1990. Julia Scher creates elaborate installations based around security and surveillance and invites the audience to become part of the work by playing the role of both the surveyor and the surveyed in her pieces ‘The Shurmann House’1991 and ‘Security by Julia IX’ 1990. By setting up cameras throughout the space, the viewers can look at themselves, watch others and wonder who could be looking at them in return.

Manu Luksch _ Faceless. ‘In a society under the reformed ‘Real-Time’ Calendar, without history nor future, everybody is faceless. A woman panics when she wakes up one day with a face. With the help of the Spectral Children she slowly finds out more about the lost power and history of the human face and begins the search for its future.

Chris Oakley

The Catalogue. ‘Placing the viewer into the position of a remote and dispassionate agency, observing humanity as a series of units whose value is defined by their spending capacity and future needs.’

Ann Stoddard makes interactive installations in which viewers are profiled via CCTV. These works explore how context can make viewers more aware of privacy and trust issues, less accepting of CCTV. At, see: RANDOM SUBJECTS; Application Center, Waiting Room; Datapaint- Surveilling Utopia. My next show opens March 26th at the District of Columbia Art Center (DCAC), Washington DC. Please contact me at if you have questions, and to request images, a video-dvd, a press release, reviews. I hope to hear from you.

ctrl[space] : Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother. Edited by Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne and Peter Weibel (USAUK). The book was put together around an exhibition about surveillance organised from October 2001 to February 2002 at the ZKM, Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (Germany). The art pieces are treated extremely well with plenty of photos and a text often written by the artists themselves.

Citysense passively “senses” the most popular places based on actual real-time activity and displays a live heat map.

June 18th, 2008
stanza image

Stanza Artwork. Shanghai 2004.

Here is the sales pitch from citysense. A system for gathering and representing real time city data from San Francisco. A nice idea for a company.
Citysense is an innovative mobile application for local nightlife discovery and social navigation, answering the question, “Where is everybody?”

Citysense shows the overall activity level of the city, top activity hotspots, and places with unexpectedly high activity, all in real-time. Then it links to Yelp and Google to show what venues are operating at those locations. Citysense is a free demonstration of the Macrosense platform that everyone can enjoy.

Instead, it evolves searching to sensing. Citysense passively “senses” the most popular places based on actual real-time activity and displays a live heat map.
Location data is everywhere. Cars, buses, taxis, mobile phones, cameras, and personal navigation devices all beacon their locations thanks to network-connected positioning technologies such as GPS, WiFi and cell tower triangulation. Millions of consumers and businesses use location-enabled devices for finding nearby services, locating friends & family, navigating, asset- and pet-tracking, dispatching, sports, games, and hobbies.

These forces have lowered the cost of technology, ignited interest in location-enabled services, and resulted in the generation of significant amounts of historical and real-time streaming location information. Sense Networks was founded on the idea that these datasets could provide remarkable real-time insight into aggregate human activity trends.

Macrosense employs patent-pending technology to learn from these large-scale patterns of movement, and to identify distinct classes of behaviors in specific contexts, called “tribes.”

Once it’s known which tribes are where, by sampling the distribution of tribes at any given place and time, it’s possible to understand what it means when a user is there at that place and time.

For example: rock clubs and hip-hop clubs each retain distinct tribal distributions. When a user is out at night, Citysense learns their preferred tribe distribution from time spent in these places. When that user visits another city, they see hotspots recommended on the basis of this distribution and combined with overall activity information.

Users who go to rock clubs see rock club hotspots, users who frequent hip-hop clubs see hip-hop hotspots, and those who go to both see both. The question “where is everybody like me right now?” is thus answered for these users – even in a city they’ve never visited before.

Citysense is an application that operates on the Sense Networks Macrosense platform, which analyzes massive amounts of aggregate, anonymous location data in real-time. Macrosense is already being used by business people for things like selecting store locations and understanding retail demand. But we asked ourselves: with all this real-time data, what else could we do for a city? Nightlife enhancement was the obvious answer. This release is just a test, and we’re interested in your feedback on how to make the application better. You’ll find a feedback button in Citysense.


People should own their own data
People should have full control over the use of any data that they generate. All data collection should be “opt-in,” and users should be able to easily remove themselves and their data from the system without questions or hassle. The system doesn’t “remember” a user for later, but completely deletes data at the user’s discretion.

People should receive a meaningful benefit in exchange for sharing data
Meaningful benefits include compelling applications to help manage life better, or personalized services based on anonymous learning from “users like me.” People should be able to enjoy the benefits of these services simply in exchange for their data.

We’re looking for additional common good uses of aggregate, anonymous location data. If you would like to submit a project for consideration, please contact us at ….

All of the above ref their website.

From my Sensity projects.
Citysense…Sounds like sensity backwards….Various types of data can be re-imagined within the context of city space and the environment. This includes pollution data recorded via sensors in the street, to create audio acoustic files expressing the pain and suffering of the air as it pollutes. Weather and forecast data, acquired via weather station equipment; this can be used and can create ambient soundscapes and morphing visualizations as the wind shifts direction or the rain increases. Noise monitor levels, and noise maps , create a symphony of true urban sounds that can be used to make sound reactive sculptures. The patterns we make, the forces we weave, are all being networked into retrievable data structures that can be re-imagined and sourced for information. These patterns all disclose new ways of seeing the world. The value of information will be a new currency as power change. The central issue that will develop will be the privilege and access to these data sources….
I like their pitch about owning their own data, couldn’t agree more in fact all royalties should be shared. Its not just about privacy its about ownership. Once you enter the grid you body is now externally giving away data and information. Companies are now rushing to harvest this information , ( information services) making new products for mobile devices. I think we are going to see a lot of this.

Theory Of Evolution Of Cities Links Science, Fractal Geometry

May 27th, 2008

Theory Of Evolution Of Cities Links Science, Fractal Geometry

All from this link:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2008) — A paper by Professor Michael Batty (UCL CASA) published in ‘Science’ and the video that accompanies this highlights a new way of looking at cities that has emerged during the last 20 years that could revolutionise planning and ultimately benefit city dwellers.

‘The Size, Scale and Shape of Cities’ advocates an integrated approach to the theory of how cities evolve by linking urban economics and transportation behaviour with developments in network science, allometric growth and fractal geometry.

Professor Batty argues that planning’s reliance on the imposition of idealised geometric plans upon cities is rooted in the nineteenth century attitude which viewed cities as chaotic, sprawling and dirty. Instead, he reports research that suggests beneath the apparent chaos, there is a strong order: “Cities are the example par excellence of complex systems: emergent, far from equilibrium, requiring enormous energies to maintain themselves, displaying patterns of inequality spawned through agglomeration and intense competition for space, and saturated flow systems that use capacity in what appear to be barely sustainable but paradoxically resilient networks.”

These geometrical plans, such as Ebenezer Howard’s ‘Garden City of Tomorrow’, propose an ideal city size and structure, which according to Professor Batty, ignores the way in which real cities develop: “Idealised cities are simply too naïve with respect to the workings of the development process, and competition for the use of space that characterises the contemporary city and the degree of diversity and heterogeneity that the most vibrant cities manifest.”

Instead, according to Professor Batty, cities grow through allometry – growth at different rates – resulting in a change of proportion – and this changes the energy balance used to sustain them. “Network science provides a way of linking size to the network forms that enable cities to function in different ways. The impacts of climate change, the quest for better performance, and the seemingly intractable problems of ethnic segregation and deprivation due to failures in job and housing markets can all be informed by a science that links size to scale and shape through information and material and social networks that constitute the essential functioning of cities.”

While Professor Batty is quick to point out that the method of looking at how cities function as complex systems is still in its infancy, he is confident that the past and continuing practice of imposing an idealised geometric system on them won’t resolve current urban ills. “This new science makes us much more aware of the limits of planning. It is likely to lead to a view that as we learn more about the functioning of such complex systems, we will interfere less but in more appropriate ways


stanza kaleidoscopic robots software 2007

Stanza artwork….2007

Unreal City. Urban Experience in Modern European Literature and Art.

April 18th, 2008
stanza china

stanza photo from china 2004

Unreal City. Urban Experience in Modern European Literature and Art.

Edited by Edward Tims and David Kelley.

Manchester University Press. 1985ISBN 0 7190 1748 3

Page 1 Forward.

Around the 1900 century the city became the focal point for an intense debate about the dynamics of technological civilization and its effects on the quality of human life. The Futurist manifesto of 909 identified the city as the pre eminent theme of modern poetry and painting.

….page 2 …”the Futurists picture the city as unstable and insecure”

page 3….as Ezra Pound pointed out in his comments on Eliot’s The Waste Land: “ the life of the village is narrative…..In a city the visual impressions succeed one another, overlap, overcross, they are cinematographic”.

Page 4…The city ceases to be pictured as a social environment and it is transposed on to an existential plane. The metropolis ultimately becomes a metaphor – a dynamic configuration of the confiding hopes and fears of the twentieth century.

Page 47 by Fank Whitford. “It was he constantly shifting experience of the city which concerned him (Monet), not the experience of living in it.”

In 1914 Ludwig Meidner published and essay about painting urban subjects asserting that painting modern cities needs a different approach from Monet and the impressionists.

From Medneir.

“Let us paint what is close to us, our city world.! The wild streets , the elegance of iron suspension bridges, gas tanks in which hang in white – cloud mountains, the roaring colour of buses and express locomotives, the rushing telephone wires aren’t they like music?), the harlequinade of advertising pillars, and then night….big city night”.

From Frank Whitford page 49…”for Meidner his conception of the city….had to be thoroughly subjective and could only be depicted in a fragmentary and metaphorical way.

Page 52….The visual aspects of the city is so complex, Kirchner argues, so different from one second to the next, that the painter must resort to exaggeration and other kinds of distortion in order to convey the authentic impression of it.

1912. The Street Enters The House” by Umberto Boccioni. He included elements on the periphery of our vision and attempts to evoke the sensation of noise and colour by distorting forms and exaggerating colours. The city is growing before ours eyes.

Page 57…”Nature now seems finally to have been mastered. The City, in which nature was most obviously tamed, confined to parks, tubs and pots, seemed to be a symbol of that mastery”

Marinettis’s manifesto makes it clear that Futurism was an urban movement.

…page 58 “The city is a living thing, a restless superhuman creature in whose presence puny man can only stand and wonder”

In 1912 Robert Delauney painted “The City Of Paris modified after influence from the Futurists. Delauney describes this paintings as a “living and simultaneous”surface an “ensemble of rythms”. Quoted in Virginia Spate, Orphism (Oxford,1979), p.205 where The City of Paris is reproduced.

Writing played a huge part in the metaphorical and poetic interpretation of world cities. But it is through cinema that we can appreciate the scale, pace movement and patterns that where emerging in the modernist city. The imagined city is constructed in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1926). It is an imagined city, a city of the future a city that is seen time and time again in modern science fiction films like The Fifth Element. Lang referred to The Tower of Babel, the massive control tower in Metropolis is called “The New Tower Of Babel. The comparison to
Babylon within the city has become common in metaphorical language of the city ever since cities really became too large for easy assimilation. Lang’s city thus becomes a city of “idea”.

Stanza Towers 2004 from Diversity

Stanza Towers 2004 from Diversity

Maps. Finding Our Place In The World. (Book)

January 10th, 2008

Stanza paintings of maps

Maps. Finding Our Place In The World. Edited by James r. Akerman and Robert W.Karrow Jr. Published 2007 by The University of Chicago Press.

In chapter five (page 2008) Michael Friendly and Gilles Palsky write about data visualization and information visualization. Data visualization about showing “patterns, trends or anomalies in ways other forms do not allow ie text and tables”. Various types differ (see page 210 ), they are communication devices conveying information from target to viewer using signs and symbols.

Sensity is a mix of the information map showing exploration, ie revealing pattern and structure about an area. Data maps show the “qualative information across space, time or circumstance.” Sensity and the mix of GPS , temp , light and sound to create audio visual real time landscapes also merges with the art map and fantasy maps.

Page 262.

Historical fantasy maps includes Sandro Botticelli, chart of Hell (1490). Other famous fantasy maps include Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”( 1883), or Herman Moll’s map of Lilliput (1726). All of these are complete fantasy maps, and the most famous being the maps from The Lord of the Rings. All of these maps are the maps of imaginary worlds.

My interest is in the information from the real world made into a virtualized experience over time. This data can be merged to create imagined situations bout the time and space these events happened.

In the visual arts of the late 20th century (page 283) there has been an explosion in the interest of maps in the visual arts. The maps of the modern art world aren’t fantasy maps like their predecessors, they are often conceptual, or used in performance and installation and often engage in questions of mapping with socio political overtones as the Situationists did.

The Sensity flanuer. The patterns in the city

January 9th, 2008
OIl On Canvas by artist Stanza. Virus

OIl On Canvas by artist Stanza. Virus

While Baudelaire characterized the flâneur as a “gentleman stroller of city streets”, he saw the flâneur as having a key role in understanding, participating in and portraying the city. A flâneur thus played a double role in city life and in theory, that is, while remaining a detached observer. This stance, simultaneously part of and apart from, combines sociological, anthropological, literary and historical notions of the relationship between the individual and the greater populace.

This term refers to a person who plays a sensor role in understanding the urban environment.

Any pedestrian environment that accommodates leisurely exploration of city streets. Walter Benjamin adopted the concept of the urban observer both as an analytical tool and as a lifestyle….. making social and aesthetic observations during long walks. (From wikipedia)

The wrap it seems, is the collections of observations about the cityspace. These can be made into histories and documented, sights and sounds, experiences of the city.


“’Space has to be conceptualised in order to be experienced and understood, our ‘sites’ are informed by the predisposed character of our ‘sight’. The flaneur is a suitable metaphoric vehicle for the ‘witnessing’ of this space because ‘the flaneur moves through space and among the people with a viscosity that both enables and priviledges vision.’

Being a product of modernity, he was a spectator of modern life in the urban sprawl; now a product of post-modernity, the cyborg-flaneur is an androgynous spectator of virtual spaces. A person’s whose aim is to disappear in the spaces of the city – ‘a prince who is everywhere in possession of his incognito’ – is the person who has the best view of the basic nature of cyberspace, a space where anonymonity is maintained by a process of vaporisation upon departure.

The flaneur is also an ‘image of movement through the social space of modernity’ – an explorer who finds their identity among the realizations of the city. The cyber-flaneur’s exploration of virtual spaces is achieved through their natural propensity for movement; they wander anonymously within the boundaries of virtual space, developing a virtual identity while connected.” By Gaylene Barnes, OtagoUniversity, 1997.


I am exploring the patterns in the city from walks through technological observations. There are system loops from analogue to digital. In Sensity I am make the work virtual, visualizing the real city data and then representing it online, then making an installation city in the real world through display and leds. That’s is from real to virtual to real in a complex loop of assets.

Sensity has an agency it manifests sites and sounds of the real work expressing the stresses and senses of the real urban networked space.

On reflecting on recent surveillance based work I am also making systems with analogue and digital that appear the same. Uncovering the process of that exists in making the artworks.

“The Metropolis and Mental Life” by George Simmel.

“Man does not end with the limits of his body or the area comprising his immediate activity. Rather is the range of the person constituted by the sum of effects emanating from him temporally and spatially. In the same way, a city consists of its total effects which extend beyond its immediate confines.”

And maybe data doesn’t start or end inside the computer. There is bleed at the edges of the dataspace which are affected by the ‘agency’ of the participants. Environments change shape and patterns emerge as the flaneur move about.

The Internet is Just a bunch of links. Digest 2004 – Stanza.

January 9th, 2008
stanza image

stanza image 2002.The Internet is Just a bunch of links.

Digest 2004 – stanza. Just a bunch of links

It could be argued that any submission to an exhibition about net art should just be the link to the work. The link is the work – its address, its location in the virtual world, its place within the system. The net itself can be interpreted as just a long list of links. As the net has become such a long list then maybe there’s a role for some curation after all. I didn’t believe this initially. Now I’ve come to believe that at least some focus on issues such as what may or may not be net art is surely a good thing. It seems too obvious to suggest this. But why not, when the burgeoning of net art has led to the proliferation of organised lists of links which are called online exhibitions.

The development of types of experience called net art has expanded to such a degree that there are now many genres of art on the net. In so much as seeking an absolute definition is futile, it could be said that net art is or has become a combination of many things incorporating some new technologies (ie. html , java, shockwave etc.), but also other disciplines such as music, programming, design, fine art and many more. And depending on which discipline you’re coming from, you might prefer conceptually led works or video based works or whatever.

Is there any good net art?

For some time now I’ve felt the proliferation of different net art linked shows has detracted from this issue. Although we should focus on the nature of specific works there is a problem when the works then become subsumed by the politics of the curation process. The beauty of art on the net, networked art and net art itself is that it is art for everybody. You can engage with the work at whatever level you want. But when the major curatorial institutions start to engage with the work, they bring their baggage to the party. And who are they to say what is good and bad net art?

Stanza. Networked and connected systems. Map Software.

Stanza. Networked and connected systems. Map Software.

Rather than read pages of text (like this) let’s just look at the work and engage with it. When we go to a gallery, do we read and study text before experiencing the work? But net art shows are increasingly text driven in order to explain away the concept or process. Maybe this isn’t a bad thing, but it occurs to me that rather than lots of curators in many different museums pitching to arrange shows on this theme or that, would it not better serve the artists’ needs if these museums considered a different approach. Maybe they should first find out what it is the artists need.

A national virtual new media (data) centre. {developed art techology assembly}

What is needed is a stronger virtual infrastructure, not for net art to be presented in a physical manner. Imagine a virtually networked national new media centre with a solid technical backbone, back end systems, fast delivery, and capable of running whatever one wanted. This would be like building a new Tate Modern except for the virtual world. Maybe we could call it ‘Tate Virtual’, maybe the netart museum. Such a system would allow the curator to come in and re-interpret the works, to redesign from a back end and arrange and re-arrange at will. They could recommend work, and archive and re-contextualise it.

The new media centres and museums could team up, dare I say it collaborate, in order to represent the new work that exists online within a larger umbrella structure. This approach would be better, cheaper and offer the artists more scope. I’m not just talking about a virtual museum but a real delivery system through which curators can mobilise the artworks. Certainly in terms of any arts funded project this would be a very good way to collate, archive and reference the work from an art historical point of view. It would also be useful in terms of accountability. Sooner or later someone is going to ask what the return has been on all the investment of public funds into new media art.

A good idea. Memes

I’ve spoken before about the need for collaboration within the convergent media process. With the phenomenal rise in the number of artists using computers to make art, this is self-evident. But what’s far less obvious is what’s happens to all the work. And whether it’s graphic, music or emergent interactive works we’re talking about, there’s lots more of it on the way. Well curated online art spaces allow artists to show their work in online communities relevant to the work itself. Such sites can provide a specific platform, for example, for a streaming service for digital video, internet art specific projects, or java networked projects etc etc. My idea was/is to create a media arts portal under the name, ‘The Armchair Universe’. I started this back in 1997 but it proved too large an undertaking without funding.

The most succesful of the sites I’ve developed is It now has over one hundred artists’ works exhibited online, and specialises in audio visual work. The idea has been to develop these projects and link them together in a media arts portal. Not just for delivery but as a virtual community on the net.

Imagine a situation where artists that use computers make works and share these works online with other users and artists within a global network. Artworks can be posted up, and other people can vote for their favourite works. The most visited works can be highlighted and users can write up reviews and comments.

An environment like this, if funded and developed properly, could have a very significant impact on the art and culture online. Online users making digital TV could create their own schedules for an online community to watch. Generative music systems could be deployed online to play across networks. The promised new media revolution could become a reality rather than a disparate network of links that are variously alive and dead.

My existing sites are already attracting thousands of new users and tens of thousands of hits per month. With funding, a major online media portal such as this would also provide invaluable information. It would be a research and development resource revealing what people are actually creating with the computers of today. This information would enable us to better know what artists and creatives want from the technologies of tomorrow.

Everyone as artist

A media environment such as the one I am proposing would change the way people use their computers – and the users would become artists by exhibiting the work they create. This new media network would enable that process. Any company advertising or building such an environment would be making artists out of users/consumers. So let’s have some corporate involvement from the computer industry itself!

A national virtual new media data centre

I’ve attempted a few times to curate and show ‘exhibitons’ which explore the diversity of net art. (See links below). My idea was and still is to form a network of new media situations that represents the variety of artwork available online. is a space for artists at the forefront of the audiovisual field, where they can show work which focuses on a developing artform area. Soundtoys can be described as “new audio visual experiences”, or multimedia experiments, which explore the parameters of our new media world. They might be described as the fusion of audio and visual output through new technologies available on the internet.

The site looks at issues around interactive arts, audio visual synthesis, generative art, and the history of interactivity. It looks at how artists are exploring, researching and playing within the parameters of online art. The site attracts a diverse and convergent range of practitioners including designers, fine artists, programmers and musicians who are all expanding their creativity within the online audio visual domain.

The convergence of hardware and software has further encouraged convergence between different creative disciplines. Perhaps now some curation and critical perspective is needed. And the constantly changing and developing nature of technologies also allows for nature of the artwork itself to change. We’re starting to see a greater emphasis on works that generate and evolve. Formal relationships within art will change as the artist’s relationship to the process changes.

Online we have net art – artists who are specifically addressing the uses and abuses of the Internet as a medium for creative expression. Within this context artists are exploring many technologies including shockwave, flash, vrml and java. Offline we see more application driven interface experiments using technologies such as max, super collider, and exploiting multi user systems, generative audio, and graphics displays. addresses the blurring of these boundaries and presents artists working at the edge of software development and at the interface between art and new music.

However this is just one site amongst many that are dedicated to various forms of net art and new media. Rhizome,Turbulence, Futherfield – there is now a growing list that exists in the virtual world. And in the physical world in the UK we have Watershed, Fact, Hull Time Based Arts, Lighthouse Media Centre..etc etc.

Alive or Dead

My Netart museum ( Now also dead) was a links site which also attempted some chronological overview of the net art scene. To my amusement the last time I looked most of the work from 1997 is now dead links, in fact over 500 dead links. This is the true nature of the web and really the whole point of the web as an emergent system

The web as an emergent network

Image: Stanza City Souel

Image: Stanza City Souel

Cities hold a fascination for me in that the more you become familiar with navigating a city’s structure, the less likely you are to get lost. But even in a familiar city, it’s still possible to find new spaces and ones which have changed and evolved; or places that are no longer there. Buildings, estates, streets come and go – they have their own life cycle of birth, decay and death. When streets are demolished other spaces are left behind. The city is a truly emergent space. In looking at art on the web with all its convergent plurality, a similar pattern is emerging.

In the past five years alone, hundreds of thousands of artworks and websites have been created and leave their footprint of connectivity online. Occasionally these sites last, but more often they are taken down, or replaced when they become obsolete. This is the nature of the internet, of new technology and of emergent systems – things change, situations evolve. Contemporary artists working online tend to focus on connectivity and realise their work across networks, or within databases and information systems. And while artists are busily creating works as emergent systems, or to create metaphors for situations that evoke connectivity, the web by its varying defaults has created its own emergent system.

Error 404s as dead spaces, as voids, as the death or obsolescence of what was once there – representing a place for contemplation, transience and the eternal hope of renewal. These spaces are the memories of things past. You might come across them by accident, only to find on the error 404 page a description of a page that no longer exists.

But these pages make up an obsolete and emergent system of their own. Probably the most common page of information on the web is a web page that suggests it has no information. And yet these pages are all different, with different layouts, fonts and languages but the same message. Type error ‘404’ into a search engine and thousands of results are displayed. Information consigned to the cemetery of the internet

A small footprint for contemplation

The search engine displays information about the information you seek, but the information you seek is no longer there. My favourite website is this space, that has been created not by the process of artistic endeavour but by the medium of the internet itself. It’s a self-regulating body of images and texts. In the sense that it is a space to reflect, a space for memories and feelings, the 404 page creates a small footprint for contemplation.

So in an ideal world, it would be nice to customize your error404.html pages within websites(and certainly you can do this), and make artworks to go in these spaces. Then we’d have hundreds of thousands of error404 artworks. Which I guess is like putting a tombstone over the grave.

At (main stanza site)