Archive for December, 2010


December 8th, 2010

VIRTUAL INTERNET CITIES.  The Emergent city  The city experience is a web of connected networks and multi layered threaded paths that condition us to the emotional state of the city space. In essence, the city fabric is a giant multi user multi data sphere. To take part you really have to put something back in, that’s like life. In this case, to take part you have to input data so others ‘may’ see the output of the data response.

Stanza CCTV artwork

Image: Stanza CCTV artwork using 200 CCTV cameras over one night. 2005

Lets imagine a space in which every action, memory, thought, feeling,  has a connection to every other action. A space where all data in the system, seamlessly integrates with all others. This place exists, it’s inside our heads. The emergent metaphor of the brain has many similarities with the emergent connectivity of cities.

Panic Noise

Mobility can be seen from traffic patterns, to pedestrian patterns, to bird flocking patterns; to multi-threaded patterns along a time line. Patterns can be seen in the architecture, the buildings, the architectural fabric of the urban design network. And closer inside the micro patterns of the city, we have the life cycles of the atomized, the insects, the life of continuity all of which exist along a timeline of past present and future. The city has a history. Stories relative to time and place, stories from the street. Love stories personal and  extreme, crime stories, stories that are small or that can affect global parameters. Inside the mobile city there are future stories and future worlds to invent and discover.

All of these spheres can be represented by media and therefore by data within the digital realm. And all of this mobile data can be interpreted and mediated. It becomes a matter of choice. Collections of data can be stored to be retrieved later. The mobile data infrastructure becomes a data source so powerful so interwoven that its scale can only be imagined as metaphor.  The size and scope of such an archive, of such rich mediated data experience would support many projects.  As such it can be interpreted as history via one sort of interface or as a game via another sort of interface.

Cities offer the opportunity for unique types of data gathering experiences via a variety of sources. An emergent  process data mining from all sides, online  for  all.  People collecting data, sounds, stories, photos, that can be filtered back into such a system.

stanza art data city

A possible objective is to ‘mediate’ data into conceptual artifacts. With this perspective there are many unimagined threads of data and connections that describe our world that can be explored through wireless mobile networks within which we can create artistic interpretations.

The network that all this takes place in is the grid of the city. In Shanghai in the planning museum you can see this in one room by looking at the model of the whole city. Mobile devices, wireless, or sensor devices, can trace and track you through such a system where data impacts to unfold meaning. This data can in effect be for aesthetic purposes as well as for marketing, and delivered as any type of media.

A model of the city could be made in this case as a simulated experience. An example of this is a controlled ultrasound sensor rig which pings sound in relation to ones position in the system (used in my Robotica artwork). It will allow you to fade sounds as you move about. Another example would be GPS positioning systems within real cities spaces, or which there a number of projects in development worldwide, and I used it for example in “Sheep“.

Types of data can be re-imagined. 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 city also has millions of CCTV. In essence the city is the biggest TV station in existence. Millions of hours worth of data are recorded every day by these cameras on city TV. I take the sounds and images of live web streams and re-represent them thus creating new interpretations of the city in the process.

Third Great Revolution

The State doesn’t allow access to certain data because of the data protection act, but what happens when things change? Walls do fall down, governments change, ideologies become overtaken. The data explosion will be immense, but only an open sourced egalitarian system will allow transparency and sharing of wealth and information. Many networks protect the entry and their content and too many have all content loaded to these database which belongs to dot dot dot ..(not you)

Uses of this information and data should allow rich new interpretations on the way our world is built, used, and designed.  Real new media landscapes or mediascapacities.

Text:  Stanza 2007

The city and the Internet becomes public domain space. By Stanza.

December 8th, 2010

stanza artwork


Can we use new technologies to 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 are these technologies going to control up, separate us, divide us, create more borders. The securization of city space create digital borders that monitor our movement and charge us for our own micro movements inside the system.

My wireless sensor network is set up to visualize cities as ‘worlds’ full of data, a city of bits. These new data-spaces can help us understand the fundamentals of our outside environment. There is an argument to opening up the level of control and responsibility given allows freedom within the system. It’s a good argument until something changes, the passwords change, the building goes private, and every single piece of data is used for something that it wasn’t intended for. Some things change for the better but sometimes they don’t; one thing is for sure; things change.

Therefore my focus is on the things that change, the flow, the data that describes our experience of the city as space.

Future cities will be merged real time connected up data cities.

I envisage the city of the future will start to build a system that will integrate this data into a sort of semantic city. A visualized flow city data experience will allow us to see ‘the soul of the city’. By mixing the XML outputs of the various cities I have created interfaces to mash up the city experience into common themes and poetic threads.

The city and the Internet becomes public domain space. A brand new era. The Magic is Complete.

We just moved from fixed assets and linear systems, to interactive and generative works and finished in a real time emergent space across networked cities.

This space is very much up for grabs commercially, like the coded DNA inside our bodies, the shared city information spaces represent a mine of resources to be exploited…..where the boundaries and locked fences exist in the real world are generally controlled by the state in the virtual world, it seems commerce is having the upper hand.

Stanza 2007

SOUNDCITIES. COM…global soundmap project.

December 8th, 2010

SOUNDCITIES. COM. Is the world first soundmap project.  If you work in field recording why not go to the site and put some sounds up. Cities all have specific identities, and found sound can give us clues to the people that inhabit these spaces, as well as provoking us and stimulating our senses in a musical way.

stanza soundcities liverpool soundmap

stanza soundcities liverpool soundmap

History of Soundcities  soundmap project

In 1995 and 1996 I approached the BBC and The Arts Council for funding support for a first version of soundcities and a database of found sounds and field recordings of the cities in the UK however both said no. Stanza started the soundcities recording project anyway (1998).  In 1999 a project called soundmaps was released and published as part of the “Central  City”  online net art project and this  won numerous art awards around the world.  In 2004 became the worlds first online found sound soundscape database.  Soundcities has remained independent and funded by Stanza.

SOUNDCITIES. BY STANZA 2007The project now has found sounds and field recordings from all around the world and across UK and it is an online map of sounds. It is also open sourced.

Essentially is an online database for sounds mapped to both Google maps and Google earth with numerous features; it also has unique XML feeds, with unique city and country id’s that can be queried to make you own interfaces, visualisations and noise maps. Users can contribute and put sounds on a map, users can put sounds in the database, they can listen to  thousands of sounds. The sounds can be grouped in categories, moods and descriptions etc

Users are able to upload sounds which are then linked to a Google map and Google earth in order to create a library of sounds according to location. They also add short text about the sound. The database is unique as it is open for all to use and musicians, sound designers can use the material on it to write interfaces via these XML feeds.

Soundcities soundmaps  is the sort of project that academics and sound researchers might find useful particularly those who study  noise maps,  soundscapes studies or sounds in the environment.

Stanza 2001. Giving performance of Soundcities.

Stanza 2001. Giving performance of Soundcities If you work in field recording why not go to the site and put some sounds up.

Sonicity: Networked Soundscape at Lanternhouse

December 7th, 2010
stanza artwork sonicty

Stanza Installation. 2010. Sonification Of Space

Sonicity Installation is now available for touring.

This installation artwork focuses on the real time space and the experience of the gallery visitor as they interact with the space, using data gathered from  new technologies. Sonicity is a responsive installation, a sonification of the real space and environment. The sounds you hear are the sounds of the changing environment, ie the changes of noise, light, temperature of the space is turned into a real time sound stream using dozens of wireless sensors presented as an installation on 170 speakers. The funding for all the speakers and installation version was made possible by financial support of Lanternhouse International.

Sonicity is a responsive installation, a sonification of the data space.The sounds you hear are the sound of the changing environment, ie : the changes of noise, light, temperature of the space is turned into a real time sound stream using dozens of wireless sensors. The system monitors the space (the building) and the environment (the city) and captures live real time data (light , temperature, noise, humidity, position) to create an ambient sonification, an acoustic responsive environment, literally the sound of the micro incidents of change that occur over time.

The objective is to explore new ways of thinking about interaction within public space and how this affects the socialization of space. The project uses environmental monitoring technologies and security based technologies, to question audiences experiences of the event and space and gather data inside the space.

The project also focuses on the micro-incidents of change, the vibrations and sounds of the gallery using wireless sensor based technologies. Motes are used to collect the data. The ‘motes’ are tiny wireless sensor boards that gather data and communicate to the central server. The real world is monitored and the data stored in my archive retrieval system. Motes and sensor boards sense the micro incidents of change in the light, the noise, temperature, sounds of the flows inside the space.

Using the XML live feeds the data can be turned in music. A custom made MAX/MSP motereader and sound synthesis engine has now been written. This allows one to hear the sounds of space, ie : an aural experience of the surrounding space. Additional mixers in the software allow all the sensors to be mixed and cross mashed. Basically this allows you to perform with space.

Stanza gets award in Digital Turku.

December 7th, 2010

Capacities was given an award in Digital Turku in Finland for 2011. This is more great news the whole installation will be on show for two  months some time next year.

stanza artist capacities

Image: Stanza Capacities.2010. Responsive data artwork.

About Capacities:  The real world is made virtual and the virtual is made real again and exposed in the process. The whole gallery space becomes one large artwork made from real time city information and data. The aesthetic and feel of the space looks like an electronic city.  The city is made of units, grids, repetition , building blocks. In the gallery city called ‘Capacities’ the leads, the wires,and cables are incorporated into the artwork to look like a city map.’ Capacities’ looks “designed” like a piece of urban design, a city surveyed and controlled.

The whole space becomes a map to wander through.

Another view:

stanza artist capacities

Image: Stanza 2010. Artwork Capacities.