The Emergent City. The City Of Data. 2004 – 2012.

June 11, 2012 by stanza Leave a reply »

The Emergent City. 2004 – 2012. From Fixed Assets to open Systems and Media visualisations.

The Central City for Madrid Vida

This artwork has moved from fixed assets to interactive systems to open generative systems.  In 2002 I started to develop less fixed systems that culled data and media from other sources. These mash-ups or interactive collage systems include “Subfusion”, “CITYV” etc. In these systems there is no fixed tangible lists of assets (ie they are not databases) they are drawn or harvested via software from spaces. I also moved away from real world studio practise to a online studio space for experimentation and output of ideas, and finished artworks. From artist as author to system as author….whose does the output being to?

The City Of Data. The Emergent city has become a body of all connected by a central theme. As you know a city is a web of  connected networks.  In essence, the city fabric is a giant multi-user, multi-data sphere. The city is made up of traffic patterns,  pedestrian patterns,  bird flocking patterns. Patterns can be seen in the architecture, patterns in the buildings, patterns in the architectural fabric of the urban design network.  All of  these spheres can be represented by media and therefore by data within the digital realm. And all of this 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 can support  many projects.  As such it can be interpreted via a variety of interfaces.

Cities offer the opportunity for unique types of data gathering experiences via a  variety  of sources.  My objective has been  to ‘mediate’ data into conceptual and cultural artifacts. With this perspective there are many un-imagined threads of data and connections that describe our world that can be explored through wireless mobile networks within which we can create artistic interpretations.

There are various types of data can be re-imagined. This includes pollution data recorded via sensors in the street, to create audio files. Weather and forecast data, acquired via weather station equipment, this can be used and can create ambient soundscapes and morphing visualisations 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.

Under this umberella title of ‘The Emergent City’ project I have made a number of artworks, installations, sonifications and visualisations between 2004 and 2012  that have move beyond the process of research, beyond what I  term as asset gathering, into softwares, installations and prototypes.

Parrallel Realities. An example is the artwork ” Urban Generation; trying to imagine the world from everyone else’s perspective, all at once”. 2002- 5.

Multiple CCTV cameras are accessed randomly in real time to make this urban tapestry. What you see is an evolving, generative artwork. These images are from taken London, and they happen as you see them, in real time. The installation versions of this work can be presented in art galleries using projectors or plasma displays.

This online artwork represents many realities that exist in city space. The observed real time surveillance society is re worked into a series of grids. This presents London to a global online audience. The data that you see is protected by the data protection act. Here it is re mixed into what you see, which is this online artwork that look like a filmic experience, but sits not a film. Its a real time experience of the city from multiple perspectives I cal it a parrellel reality.

The online version now runs as a series of twelve real time perspectives of the emergent city experience . This ‘film’ is constantly evolving and will never be the same again, the images are not recorded. Each screen is a live real time image from a camera in the city of London. The artwork seeks to explores the rhizomatic multi nodal networked experience. Urban Generation draws on images across the networked city, the artwork creates a unique interpretation of a multi point perspective that exists in time always in the present.

Data cities and control spaces

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. One can take the sounds and images off live web streams and  re-represent them thus creating new interpretations of the city in the process.

The city already has a recorded source of data, cctv is everywhere. Using data from CCTV, you can bring the outside inside. Selected feeds are collected from around the world in real time. These real time images are fed into a software system  where a  series of specialised channels rework these images. The channels are always on, and  always changing, a constant  view  of  the world changing  and evolving around  the  clock. This artwork uses  specially created software and technology  to  randomly find images in real time from anywhere in the network, in this case anywhere in the world.

The increase of technology infrastructure in the daily existence of a city means that technology will, more than ever be everywhere in our environment. Mobile data mining will be part of the fabric of the landscape.  We will be carrying this data in pods, phones and ID cards. Everything is or will be tracked. CCTV, car sensors, tracking inside our phones, ID card movement, and tracking in the guise of anti- terror activity.

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

So we need to imagine the city at a different scale. The possibility is to extend our imagination and enable that perception of the city as a dynamic network. We can now put systems in place that can re–employ our perception and thus create new understanding of how this behaviour unfolds. There are patterns, they are connected and the systems that evolve, can be simulated and acted upon.

We can influence the process and the system and we can also create variables into this system that allows understanding of the bi-products of the system, the data and the resulting information.

Stanza 2009



Comments are closed.