Big Data is a concept in continuous mutation.
The exponential rise of the quantity and quality of data and
information which individuals generate every day is the single most
important driver of the evolution of the concept of Big Data.
our gestures, movements, relations, transactions, expressions tend to
become occasions for the generation of digital data and information.
This happens whether we realize it or not, consciously or
unconsciously, in direct, indirect, transparent or completely opaque
At the present time, most individuals generate data in ways in
which they don't realize or understand, and which they cannot
understand, due to the opacity of collection processes, algorithms,
classifications, parameters. They don't (can't) know how this
information is used: unaccessible profiles are used to generate
personalized interfaces, services, advertisements, content. We are
constantly becoming the unknowing subjects of social experiments,
communication campaigns, national security scrutiny, dots in
dashboards and information visualizations.
Individuals are, currently, the only ones who cannot fully benefit
from Big Data: to organize themselves; to create meaningful, shared
initiatives; to understand more about themselves and about the world
On top of that, when data becomes so detailed that the sample can
be as large as the actual population, and it is possible to use
complex algorithms to process it, the perception of the possibility
to use all of this data to eliminate all risks recurringly comes up
to mind, and, thus, its impacts in terms of the elimination of the
possibility to comprehend and value what is different, unexpected,
transgressive, advenutorous, possible.
This overall scenario may lead to a deterministic,
data-biopolitical scenario which is what we confront with with our
We aim at describing an ubiquitous infoscape, in which data
becomes an accessible, usable part of the landscape, just as
buildings, trees, roads, and in which it is clear and transparent
(although complex and fluid) what is public, private, intimate. And
in which people are able to express how they whish their data to be
used and can actually use it to construct meaningful actions. We aim
to create a participatory, inclusive performative space, in which
people, as individuals and members of society, can express themselves
and do things, defining new forms of public/private/intimate spaces
which are agible, accessible, usable.
the polyphonic performance of the city
What is the role of transgression in the Post City?
Myriads of micro-histories in the city massively recombine,
interfere, interact, interconnect, forming the life of the city in
its continuous mutation, innovation and transgression.
People constantly transgress, reprogramming spaces, time and
relations, creating a level of tactical cultural biodiversity which
can happen only in the dense urban environments, and which
constitutes the wealth and richness of the city.
Elizabeth Grosz defines this process as spatial excess, a
new dimension which is able to go beyond preconceptions, prejudices
and worries about utility, “beyond the relevance for the present,
looking towards the future.” The revelation and discovery of this
excess depends on the possibility for transgression.
Excess is in the “problematic”, which is full of potential.
The clandestine, the unacknowledged, the unofficial find their
survival – beyond crime – in the transgression of social norms
and limits. Those same limits which have excluded them in the first
place. The recycle trash, appropriate spaces, invent communication
channels, create styles, fashions and trends. They don’t cross
borders: they move on them. Moving, they innovate.
Using a term from Massimo Canevacci Ribeiro: innovation is the
possibility for methodological indiscipline.
The Myriads project created for Ars Electronica by Human
Ecosystems and Ubiquitous Commons establishes a peer-to-peer
ethnography of the city: a diffused participatory observation in
which the myriads of public micro-histories of the daily life of the
city will be captures, transformed into a commons, and performed
through art, education, citizen engagement and tactical usage.