Archive for the ‘surveillance’ Category

The Nemesis Machine in Warsaw. Exhibition: Beyond the Seven curated by Piotr Krajewski.

November 3rd, 2017

Finally finished the lastest version The Nemesis Machine in Warsaw show opens weds night “Beyond the Seven”. Thanks to wro art center who curated moved and supported this. It’s on show then available for exhibitions. Uses live data from various sources and monitors London and Warsaw in realtime. The show is called “Beyond the Seven”. The artwork visualises life in the city 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. Warszawie ‘za siedmioma’ – megalopolis w budowie / nemezis deweloperów ‘Za siedmioma’ at Dom S?owa Polskiego curated by Piotr Krajewski.

Stanza Body [Data as Culture] at Open Date Institutute. Extended until 2014

August 8th, 2013

Stanza Body  [Data as Culture]

http://www.theodi.org/culture/body-01000010011011110110010001111001-2012

sculpture By The artist Stanza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Data as Culture’ is reflective of our time.

The body piece and exhibition extended for six more months until 2014  on show in London

Body is a sculpture which responds to the emergent properties of the environment in South London where the artist’s network is situated for the duration. It represents the changing life and complexity of urban space as a dynamic, kinetic artwork. Real-time environmental data is embodied in Stanza’s life-size sculpture assembled from computer components and acrylic slices of his own physique. In ‘Body 01000010011011110110010001111001′ the urban environment provides a dynamic flickering and clicking sentience to the otherwise inert structure, reflecting the personal level of influence data has on an individual.

Open Data Institute
3rd Floor
65 Clifton Street
London
EC2A 4JE

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The London Based artist Stanza will be giving the keynote at Calculative Devices in the Digital Age Durham University

August 8th, 2013

The London Based artist Stanza will be giving the keynote at Calculative Devices in the Digital Age Durham University

Stanza_body1

Conference Durham University, 21-22 November 2013

Others Keynote Speakers Professor Pat O’Malley (Sydney), Professor Marieke de Goede (Amsterdam) & Professor Rita Raley (UCSB).

Calculative Devices in the Digital Age Durham University

The conference will be oriented to the following key themes:

•Data and calculation  – algorithms and algorithmic logics

•Associative life – ‘real’ and digital identities and social relations

•Data, analytics and decision-making – applications, interfaces, protocols

•Calculating futures – uncertainty, prediction and potentiality

The Securing against Future Events project is organizing a two day conference on the forms and techniques of calculation that emerge with digital computation.

How does the drive to make sense of, and productively use, large amounts of diverse data, inform the development of new calculative devices, logics and techniques?

How do these devices, logics and techniques – from neural networks to decision trees, from Monte Carlo method to traversal algorithms, from text analytics to data visualisation – affect our capacity to decide and act?

In a world of changing data landscapes, how do mundane elements of our physical and virtual existence become data to be analysed and rearranged in complex ensembles of people and things? In what ways are conventional notions of public and private, individual and population, certainty and probability, rule and exception transformed and what are the consequences of these transformations?

How does the search for ‘hidden’ connections and patterns using association rules, correlation rules or link analysis, change our understanding of social relations and associative life?

Do contemporary modes of calculation, based on constant incorporation of heterogeneous elements, produce new thresholds of calculability and computability, allowing for the improbable or the merely possible to be embraced and acted upon?

As contemporary approaches to governing uncertain futures seek to anticipate the yet unknown event – in domains as diverse as marketing and insurance, emergency preparedness and counter-terrorism – how are calculation and decision engaged anew?

http://www.dur.ac.uk/geography/news/futureevents/?eventno=16518

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British artist Stanza wins SHARE PRIZE 2012 in Torino for Capacities. A piece of work using real time data of the city.

November 1st, 2012
The British artist Stanza  wins SHARE PRIZE 2012 in Torino for Capacities. A piece of work using real time data of the city. This artwork captures the changes over time in the environment (city) and represents the changing life and complexity of space as an emergent artwork. Its an artwork about the internet of things, smart cities and connecting spaces.
British artist Stanza In Italy

Jury Statement

What is the role of art today, in this moment of social transition towards the city of the future? It was from this perspective that the artists interpreted the theme Open Your City, exploring the key concepts word by word. The short-list of the Jury reflects the reappearing artistic interpretation of the modern urban landscape as system, where the solid element is replaced by the message, the information and the database, a real, but dematerialized city. Artists have been short-listed by an international jury, consisting of Simona Lodi, Carlo Ratti, Bruce Sterling and Mirjam Struppek, on the basis of the artistic value of their work and its relevance to the Share Prize theme.

Capacities: Real Time Complex – Connected Cities by British artist Stanza is an installation dedicated to the complexity of life in an environment. Changes in each of the spaces are monitored in real time, as they give rise to constant tensions, highlighting the behaviour of complex systems and the emergent properties that appear. In this case the organism is the city and not the single individual; it is the entire urban habitat as a whole, revealing its nature as a multifaceted system. The installation is the real-time mirror image of everything that changes, gathering huge amounts of data that are transformed aesthetically into a physical copy of the city, made up of cables, lights and sensors that represent shifts in environmental parameters measured numerically. The obsessive focus is on the observation of environmental data by gathering measurement on temperature, light, atmospheric pressure, noise and the sounds of the city outside the museum. Gathering digital data on the environment has become an art, and art has become a data set rather than a collection of molecules. The short-list of the Jury reflects the reappearing artistic interpretation of the modern urban landscape as system, where the solid element is replaced by the message, theinformation and the database, a real, but dematerialized city.

Le parole OPEN YOUR CITY sono la traccia tematica che ha guidato la mostra di Share Prize. Il premio ha come obiettivo scoprire, promuovere e sostenere le arti in epoca digitale. La selezione delle opere finaliste della mostra è dedicata agli artisti che interpretano l’innovazione come linguaggio di espressione artistica, in ogni modo e forma. Una giuria internazionale composta da Simona Lodi, Carlo Ratti, Bruce Sterling e Mirjam Struppek hanno scelto gli artisti in base all’aderenza al tema e al valore estetico dell’opera.

Dichiarazione della giuria

Quale è il ruolo dell’arte, in questo momento di transizione sociale verso la città del futuro? In quest’ottica gli artisti hanno interpretato il tema Open Your City, sviscerando le parole chiave. La short-list della giuria riflette l’interpretazione del riapparire artistico del paesaggio urbano moderno come sistema, dove l’elemento solido è sostituito dal messaggio, dalle informazioni e dai database, una città reale ma smaterializzata.

Capacities: Real Time Complex – Connected Cities dell’artista inglese Stanza dedica la sua installazione alla complessità della vita in determinato ambiente. Ogni ambiente è sottoposto a cambiamenti continui che sono monitorati in tempo reale. I cambiamenti portano continua tensione e stressano il concetto di linearità ed evidenziano le emergenze che compaiono. In questo caso l’organismo è la città e non il singolo cittadino ma l’intero complesso urbano, tracciandone il profilo come sistema multiforme. L’installazione è lo specchio in real-time di ciò che si modifica, raccogliendo grosse quantità di dati trasformati esteticamente in una copia della città ma fatta di cavi, luci e sensori che esprimono il passaggio degli elementi ambientali raccolti in forma numerica. L’attenzione insistente è osservare i dati ambientali raccogliendo la temperatura, la luce, la pressione atmosferica, il rumore, e il suono della città fuori dal museo. Raccogliere elementi numerici che riguardano l’ambiente è diventata un’arte e l’arte e’ diventata un insieme di dati piuttosto che un insieme di molecole.

http://www.stanza.co.uk/capacities/index.html

 

 

Portraits Of The Artist Stanza

October 30th, 2012

Stanza Portrait of The Artist

Stanza Portrait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stanza exhibits city wide data installation Verenigd Koninkrijk, Capacities. Update_4. Gent.

September 24th, 2012

Welkom op de website van de New Technological Art Award 2012, een internationale kunstwedstrijd van de Stichting Liedts-Meesen die deel uitmaakt van onze biënnale Update. Kom kijken naar het werk van de genomineerden van 22 september tot en met 18 november 2012.

Stanza, Verenigd Koninkrijk, Capacities

Locaties:
Zebrastraat – Zebrastraat 32/001 – 9000 Gent – Belgium – www.zebrastraat.be

New Technological Art Award 2012, een internationale kunstwedstrijd van de Stichting Liedts-Meesen In 2012 organiseert de Stichting Liedts-Meesen Update_4 in het kader van het project Zebrastraat en in navolging van de eerste drie Update-biënnales.

In Update_4 wordt de filosofie van de vorige edities behouden maar leggen we nieuwe accenten. In het verleden gingen de tentoonstellingen gepaard met de New Technological Art Award Liedts-Meesen die meer en meer op de belangstelling van de kunstenaars en het publiek kon rekenen. Onze focus ligt nu op de presentatie van deelnemers van de wedstrijd NTAA en bestaat uit:

-een grotere bijdrage van nieuwe technologieën in de kunst
-een verhoging van het aantal genomineerden van 10 naar 20
-een presentatie van één naar drie locaties in België : de Zebrastraat in Gent, La Cambre en iMAL in Brussel

Uit de meer dan 300 inzendingen waarvan 20 kunstwerken geselecteerd werden, vallen een aantal typerende thema’s te traceren. Ondanks het feit dat onze dagelijkse perceptie in een grote mate gedomineerd wordt door virtuele werelden en onder invloed staat van de eigentijdse technologie, kunnen verschillende werken onder het landschappelijk genre gecategoriseerd worden. Opvallend is evenwel de verwerking van diverse parameters die het kunstwerk via een technische transfer veranderlijk en de beleving ervan multisensorisch maakt. Mapping betekent in deze context niet zozeer een cartografische variant, maar includeert eveneens het flaneren, cruisen of dwalen. In een gegeven geografie vertaalt zich dit vaak in een (mechanische) choreografie waarin parameters als licht en geluid expressief gemanipuleerd worden. De luciditeit in een aantal werken kent een tegengewicht in de reflectie over eindigheid, dood en in een enkel geval opent dit zich cynisch en hyperbolisch tot het contemporaine euthanasiedebat. Items als identiteit en communicatie vormen een belangrijk inhoudelijk substraat waarin gegevens als sociale netwerken, privacy, hacking, spam verwerkt worden. De interactiviteit bij vele inzendingen doet een beroep op een actieve toeschouwer die zich vaak geconfronteerd ziet met keuzemogelijkheden of beslissingen die men dient te nemen.

Stanza artwork Capacities

 

Art that explores questions raised by modern society – about privacy, surveillance culture….

September 23rd, 2012

STANZA’s art explores questions raised by modern society – about privacy, surveillance culture, and who owns the data that is regularly collected about all of us – often using modern technologies to create his pieces. Since he first started exhibiting his works in 1984, STANZA has strived to create cutting edge art that deals with current issues. In the process he has won several impressive awards, including an AHRC arts fellowship, and has seen his work featured in over 50 different exhibitions globally.

Ahead of a installation of one of his works “Capacities” in Ghent, Belgium in September, Solomon Radley met with him, in front on a computer monitor at his studio in South London, to talk in depth about what he does over coffee.

Hey, how’s it going? Would you begin by telling me a bit about what you do?

STANZA: The things that I’m interested in are ‘surveillance space’, which is the idea of the city as having become a panopticon – this idea that we’re in a prison and we can be observed at all times, from all perspectives, all at once, and particularly in real time.

I use various technologies to do that, like CCTV and wireless sensor networks. Over the years, firstly I’ve developed a strong understanding of what these technologies can do in terms of learning about them, but also I’m having to develop for them, so I’ve learned how to develop hardware and software. You may think I’m a technologist – I see myself as a creative technologist, and I also see that artists are engineers, so they have to understand the technologies that they use, and the mediums that they use in order to get output.

To bring that into perspective, we can look at some artworks…

Sure thing. Would you expand on your thought that the city is a sort of prison?

STANZA: Urban Generation is a piece I did in relation to this idea of the city being a panopticon. Let’s say, in modernist terms, an artist would go out and collect assets – he might use a recording device or a camera – it would be a still, linear asset, and it would never change. It’s possible to actually conceive of the city as a moving physical entity, moving forward in time all the time. How is it possible to use new technologies to actually gain a representation of this, and use it in a culturally meaningful way?

Urban Generation attempts to imagine the world from everyone else’s perspective all at once. If I’m giving a talk, what I try and do is – to illustrate the conceptual shift – I say: “I’d like you to close your eyes, and I’d like you to imagine yourself in a place in London. I’m going to do the same and I’m going to take a single mental snapshot, and I’d like you all in the room to take your single snapshot. Now, I’d like you to imagine the view of the people sitting next to you to your left and to your right, so you have three images multiplied together. There’s 300 people in the room; I’d like you to merge all of these 300 images together. And now not like a film, (because if we used a film we’d be recording the same images) what I’d like you to do is to move these images forward in real time.”

This is the idea I’m trying to capture with this piece of work.

A lot of your work is concerned with the question of who owns the information that is regularly collected about people, and with re-claiming that information. Tell me about this idea.

STANZA: I make artworks that arise from my research into these themes – the themes being ‘control space’ and ‘surveillance space’ and issues with privacy. What I’m doing, which is sort of new ground, is that I’m hacking access to a network and re-appropriating the data and information, and I’m re-contextualizing to give it a wider meaning. I want to show that you can do something positive with this data.

Other works where I’m interested in the control and ownership of data include this website called GenoMixer, where I fully sequenced my blood. In a sense this looks like artist self-portraiture, but I was interested in thedomain space – the public domain space – that’s inside our bodies.

We have this huge line of code – 3.3 billion letters – and it basically has an economic value. The proposal here is to IPO (Initial Public Offering) the project on the stock market, and to give everyone a share of the derivable intellectual royalties. For example, if somebody else wanted to investigate your DNA in a medical program they’d have to pay you. If some other company discovered the cancer gene because you were on the police forensic database you could say “No it’s copyrighted – it’s on the GenoMixer database”.

It just so happens that I also made a series of self-portraits with them…

One of the most obvious types of information that is commonly collected about the general public is video images gathered by CCTV, and this is something you often look at. What are your thoughts about CCTV?

STANZA: Let’s look at “Urban Generation – trying to imagine the world from everyone else’s perspective, all at once“. What we’ve got here is: each square on this four-by-four grid is making calls to over 100 cameras in London in real time. This is a parallel reality, using live network data to re-appropriate it over the network and use it for something else. For example, this could be used as an extension on landscape painting.

Why this has become quite interesting, and the reason I mention these modernist aspects that are fixed, is that this work is never the same. You could look at it even now, on a different monitor, and it would be different: It’s not the Mona Lisa – where every time you look at the work you experience the same thing – there’s an added problem here.

Another interesting question here is: Is what we’re looking at the artwork? On July 7th in 2005 they switched this entire network off because of the terrorist attacks. Well my system still worked, it’s just that the output – which is what connects a viewer to the system – is shifted.

This [Public Domain Responsive Architecture Facade] is the same concept using CCTV, observing the whole of the city but making it transparent. Why would you want to make your movements open and transparent? Why would you want to let CCTV be seen by everybody? This is a building with its outer surfaces displaying images that are embedded in the city – all the stuff on the outside of the building is shifting in terms of the real time properties of that city. In a sense, you (as the observed individual) become part of the building and part of the city, and this opens up the idea of transparent architecture and transparent space.

Public Domain is another work along the same theme, where I gave CCTV cameras away to members of the public, to open up this idea of CCTV networks. People sometimes say that they’ve got nothing to hide, and to nothing to fear…I think that’s a problematic statement. I’m not coming down on a particular side of the fence here, but it seems to me that we’ve opened Pandora’s box, and there’s a whole series of legislative and ethical issues that aren’t being addressed.

Hopefully what I’m doing in these artworks is to draw attention to the fact that there’s a whole series of potential problems that we’re walking in to.

You also play with collected data, which you use to create interactive works or installations where real-time changes are caused by environmental factors…

STANZA: We’ve already looked at my CCTV system. There’s another one, which uses wireless sensors/wireless nodes. You scatter them across the city, and they talk to each other in a network grid.

This research started in 2004 as a result of an AHRC grant that I was awarded, and I was trying to find a system I could use as open source hardware and software, that would monitor the whole city space. I’ve scattered these sensors around a city to generate visualisations and sonifications in various cities. For my first project [Sensity] they were output onto a visual globe.

So, now what I was interested in doing is looking at this real time data, that’s now everywhere, and seeing if I could do something else with it – if I could make art with it.

Equally, in Sonicity I deliberately put a whole load of speakers on the floor and connected them all up to make it look like a map, and somewhere else (in another part of the world) that data is being collected from my network and being spat out onto the internet via an XML stream. In arty terms, maybe I’m “painting with data” – the data has become the medium. With this data I’m painting a sonification of the real time landscape.

The second thing I was trying to think about, as part of this thinking process, was all the stuff that’s being collected about us – not just my data, but tax data and medical records – which could be used because of the way it changes and shifts from one thing to the next to power other events:

With CapacitiesI made…let’s call it a sculpture…a sculpture of computer parts that looks like a city, and would be powered by events changing somewhere else in real time. In this version of Capacities, all the lights and fans, and all the parts that change, do so because of other things happening in the world in real time.

The reason I’m trying to do that is that there seem to be other values that people are missing in terms of the things that are happening to us, and the world, in real time. We’ve become bodies residing in a ‘data space’. Everything around us is the data space and by default we interact with it – even small movements displace millions of atoms.

I conceive of this post-modern world in which movements are just moving a series of 0s and 1s. I can measure the 0s and 1s that I’m displacing by moving around. This interactive process is embedded in the work by default.

Visitors to a Gallery… is quite an important work, in that it opens up the gallery space as an artwork. For example, these two people that are pictured aren’t actually in this room – they’re in another room in another part of the gallery, so they’re embedded in the artwork that you’re viewing. Everybody in the architectural space becomes part of the artwork, and this happens in real time – it’s not recorded, and it’s not a film. So I utilize the technology in the space (the CCTV system).

Secondly, what’s happening here is that there are a series of proximity sensors that affect this as an algorithm – as you walk around this space all of these images oscillate/vibrate slightly.

So when you’re in the room, viewing this artwork, you’re at the same time generating an artwork for someone else in another room?

STANZA: And you’re in the work you’re viewing yourself, through your interaction with the sensors.

That’s also happening in Seeing Through Walls, where there are little cameras and monitors, so you become embedded in the same artwork as it’s being broadcast live, or in this piece where you can see through to people on the other side of the wall.

I was actually in a Greek club where they had something like that – the mirrors in the toilet let you see yourself, but also the women doing their makeup in the adjacent toilets…

STANZA: Ha! No wonder their ecomony’s gone down the pan…

Moving on from that, my work splits into this idea of using real time networks and investigating different ways of interacting with public space.

Here’s a strange project called The Binary Graffiti Club, where I got a load of people to dress up in hoodies with 0s and 1s on their backs, and they go round the city making binary graffiti – painting little coded messages onto the city.

Anything in particular?

STANZA: Well…no. I don’t want to be too specific about this, because… Well here’s a piece going back to the DNA project (the open source bit). If you sit in the gallery for…this has been online for seven years: If it was exhibited in a gallery you could get my open source DNA, and you could go off and replicate me, but it changes a letter once every second so you’d have to sit there for 104 years with a pen and paper. The same is true of the binary graffiti club – if you want to know what the message is, you have to sit there and transcribe it and translate it.

One letter from STANZA’s DNA code – the letters are shown in order, one per second for the 104 year project

This led from another piece of work – A City of Bits – as well as this performance that was laid down in the form of this sushi: I invited 12 people, after the disciples, and asked them to come and eat this coded sushi message. So, this is a coded message that they eat, and then they all put their own message back into a jar which I’ve now destroyed. I’ve transcribed those messages here…

You have a performance coming up in Texas soon – tell me a bit about what you’ll be doing.

STANZA: In Soundcities, using a recording device, I’ve been to all these different cities, recording sounds which are attached to Google Maps, and you can visit lots of cities in the world…

The key to this is the database; you can see the sounds, arranged in different categories, and you can create a performance by picking a selection of them and building up rhythms. This is what I do with my performances, except I have the same thing on a couple of machines, and I might mix it with sounds from churches, etc. It’s basically a live world tour of city sounds as music: the machines are connected to a mixing desk, images are coming from the website projects.

During the eight years I’ve been doing these performances, they’ve been heavily focused on the sounds of cities, the database live and soundmaps.

So this database can be used in performances, but the key here is that the database is open source, and other people can contribute to this community of sounds. There’s lots of other projects that have come from this, but the most important bit is this. This XML feed shows the sound, and its longitude/latitude, and although this is just a line of code it basically means that anyone else can use this to write their own apps.

What I’m doing that’s unique here is: it’s like an artist of the past allowing someone into their studio to work in parallel with them.

www.stanza.co.uk

Stanza part of the guest panel the global surveillance society at Barbican Centre London.

June 12th, 2011

Stanza part of the guest panel at Barbican Centre London.

Stanza Stars Of CCTV  series

 

Q&A with director Juan Manuel Biaiñ, London based British artist Stanza, Dr. Kirstie Ball, Director of Surveillance Studies Network, Simon Davies, Privacy International, Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities and Society at the Global Urban Research Unit and James Michael, privacy specialist and human rights lawyer.

Stanza
is a London based British artist who specializes in net art, data sculptures and networked space. He works with the concept of surveillance. His work has been shown at The Venice Biennale, Tate Britain, The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Dr. Kirstie Ball is a Senior Lecturer and Reader in Surveillance and Organization at the Open University and Director of Surveillance Studies Network.

Stephen Graham is an academic and author who researches cities and urban life. He is Professor of Cities and Society at the Global Urban Research Unit and is based in Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

Portraits Of The Artist Stanza

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 making things that occupy space.

November 30th, 2010

Much if not most of his work over the last twenty five years has been concerned with the city and with real-time technologies of surveillance and information and has often involved using and even making electronic devices.  In 2009 he did a residency at Lanternhouse in Cumbria,  near to the Lake District,  in which he applied some of the same techniques as he has used in relation to city life to more rural contexts. Yet this bucolic interlude was an exception to the normal location of his artistic practice.

Yet I would like to claim that Stanza presents an exemplary form of art as craft, in the sense that he takes the materials of our current technologised culture and materially engages with their possibilities in order to reflect upon what it means to be living in that culture. What is particularly interesting about Stanza’s work is that he understands how to use in creative and novel ways a whole range of tools and technologies, which, along with his prodigious rate of production, means that his output is a kind of map of shifting technological realities and possibilities. He groups many of his artworks over the last twenty five years under the rubric The Emergent City Projects.

stanza_music-_performance

Image: Stanza Music Performance with touchscreens: 2004

Stanza artwork above 2004

In the mid-1980s he was making music videos about ‘cities, networks and urban situations’ using ‘VJ decks and experimental TV techniques’.  In 1989 he started a series of monochrome paintings of cityscapes, based on his own photographs, entitled Control… In 1997 he started Central City…….

In a situation where the virtual realm becomes more and more the place where we, in the so-called developed world at least, work and socialise, the material, lived environment of the city becomes a locus of greater authenticity, much as the rural landscape did during the period of industrialisation. Yet, much as representations of the countryside in the 19th century were often made with much more awareness of the social and ecological issues than we now imagine,

Stanza’s work does not romanticise the city. He portrays it as a complex, informational space, networked by different complex systems, some visible and some invisible. He also makes the work in the most direct sense; he is a maker, a craftsperson, who knows how to program, how to use live video feed, and how to build robots, and sensing devices.

Above all he knows how to use and to work with the technologies of real-time computing and visualisation that have become an increasingly important part of our technologised culture.

To a certain extent Stanza’s practice and that of others like him, embodies the idea of ‘immaterial labour’ and the ‘social worker’ as discussed by, among others, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt.

In the context of a capitalism increasingly dominated by information technology Hardt and Negri distinguish between two forms of the ‘immaterial labor of analytical and symbolic tasks’, on one hand ‘routine symbolic tasks’, and ‘creative and intelligent manipulation’ on the other (293). They claim that, inasmuch as such labour necessarily involves cooperation prior to its subsumption by capital, it seems to ‘provide the potential for a kind of spontaneous and elementary communism’ (294). Hardt and Negri have been widely criticised for the naivety of this statement. What might be claimed is that immaterial labour does offer a new model of craft production as opposed to the dehumanising mass production of industrial capitalism.It seems to me that the work of Stanza offers us a model of not just an artistic but also an ethical engagement with technology, at a time when such a thing is, I believe, increasingly needed. His work does not comment on, for example, surveillance technologies or sensing technologies, or other public manifestations, in a political or polemic manner. Rather it engages in what they might be for, how they might be used, in ways that explore their meaning and potential beyond the obvious kinds of use. As such he works against the cool aesthetic of much work made with such technologies.

By contrast with the reticent of such stuff, Stanza produces an abundance of vivid, complex, often baroque work that is unashamedly aesthetic in the sense of being concerned with the sensually beautiful. In this he is like Ruskin’s gothic builder, whose love of variety and for beauty for its own sake was, for Ruskin, evidence of his freedom, as compared to the ‘enslaved’ worker, endeavouring to produce regular perfection. The modern equivalent to such an enslaved worker might be an artist committed to a conceptual programme of work as much as it might be a computer programmer endeavouring to find the most economical and ‘elegant’ solution to a logical problem. That said Richard Sennett’s book on The Craftsman explicitly claims that programming can be a craft and offers the example of Linux programmers.

stanza artist

Image: Detail from live CCTV software system by Stanza 2005.

Stanza artwork above 2005

The difference between Stanza and the Gothic craftsman discussed by Ruskin is that the latter works spatially, making things that occupy space and endure, unchanged over time.

Stanza works in time, in the sense that he manipulates real-time and time-based  technologies such as CCTV cameras.  He does not so much ‘sculpt time’ as Andrei Tarkovski described the process of film making, as ‘craft time’. In the context of a culture in which time has increasingly become a commodity, this crafting of time takes on a more pressing and even political dimension.

Charlie Gere

Head of Department

Institute for Cultural Research

THE ARTISTS STUDIO AS LABORATORY

August 2nd, 2010

THE ARTISTS STUDIO AS LABORATORY FOR THE FUTURE: “TRANSPARENCY”

I am developing the idea of studio as laboratory and extending previous versions by inviting members of the public to be involved in the process and the experiments. The studio will also have live CCTV broadcast and live data feeds.

Artists are like scientists they ask questions and find answers in peculiar ways….guided by research and process development.  Most artists, like scientists do stuff, they make things to question the world. They often speculate, researching difficult issues in a general direction in the way they see it with specific outcomes, these outcomes may or may not be art.

From the real to virtual and back to the real is a theme that has had my attention for five years and the idea is embedded in the works I am currently making.

stanza_i_am _stanza

Image: Stanza installation:- “Visitors To A Gallery” 2008. CCTV artwork.

This project will take place in the Barn at Lanternhouse, as Stanza creates data scapes in an Open Studio.  The residency is about exploring the artistic process, being transparent about the process and the development and production of new work.

The “open studio” mirrors the process of the project, with material and philosophical process being available to witness throughout.

stanza_visitors

Image: Stanza installation:- “Visitors To A Gallery” 2008. Installation on Floor.

This work (the studio as lab) is now in version three for my residency in Lanternhouse International (UK) called City of Dreams.

Three works to be developed during this City of Dreams residency: Info Below

  • Sonicity
  • Capacities
  • Open Studio: Transparency

http://www.stanza.co.uk/laboratory/index.html

Stanza exhibits real time data network at Decode: Digital Design Sensations. V & A Porter gallery

November 22nd, 2009

Stanza is in this show…Digital Design Sensations. 8 December 2009 – 11 April 2010.

Using custom made sensors in the V & A Porter gallery and around the city. 20 custom environmental sensors units measure, light, noise, sound, humidity, and temperature….this data is turned into a online real time visualisation of the space.

Stanza’s work “Sensity V & A” uses environmental sensors scattered all over the museum and the city to make visualisation and sonifications. Literally painting with data these works open up a discourse about networks and surveillance technologies. The ownership and interrogation of public domain space is opened out where anyone can view all the data in these networks. This is used by stanza to make artworks but it is of equal interest to urban designers, city planners, and architects. Stanza’s main point is to question the social political fabric of the landscape around us. This work aim to reclaim the city which is remade as a real time virtualised space belonging to all. The work is interactive, real time and responsive; it is also available online.

The Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition will be centred in the Porter Gallery. The exhibition will explore three themes. Code as a Raw Material will present pieces that use computer code to create new designs in the same way a sculptor works with materials such as clay or wood. This section will look at how code can be programmed to create constantly fluid and ever changing objects. The second theme, Interactivity, will look at designs where the viewer directly influences the work. Visitors will be invited to interact with and contribute to the development of the works, many of which show designers playing with the boundaries of design and performance. The final theme, The Network, will focus on works that comment on and utilise the digital traces left behind by everyday communications, from blogs in social media communities to mobile communications or satellite tracked GPS systems.

http://feeds.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/future_exhibs/Decode/index.html

Sensity by Stanza as part of Decode: Digital Design Sensations at the V and A. I wont be showing the globe but I will be showing live data visualisation of London and the V @ A.

Drones and Surveillance

February 27th, 2009

Image of new Police CCTV gear.

Remote-controlled drones are already used widely by the military. And they are coming to a city near you.

Now ministers believe they are likely to become ‘increasingly useful’ for police work. Armed with heat-seeking cameras, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would hover hundreds of feet in the air, gathering intelligence and watching suspects.In theory, their advantages are clear. They are cheaper and quieter than conventional helicopters, can circle their target for hours without refuelling – and they don’t get bored on long surveillance missions. The plan to deploy ‘spy in the sky’ planes is outlined in the Home Office’s latest Science and Innovation Strategy. It says: ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are likely to be an increasingly useful tool for police in the future, potentially reducing the number of dangerous situations the police may have to enter and also providing evidence for prosecutions and support police operations in “real time”.Two years ago, Tony McNulty, then a Home Office minister, acknowledged that scientists were exploring the use of UAV technology for a ‘range of policing and security applications’. But the document cautions: ‘We need to investigate how such vehicles could be used, and their ability to provide high-quality evidence for convictions.’ There are also safety concerns surrounding the planes. Those used by the military are prone to crashes on takeoff and landing. Many have been lost over battlefields.

A trial by Merseyside police, of £30,000 ( not inc training costs)  remote-controlled miniature helicopters with still, video or infra-red cameras, highlighted more mundane problems related to battery life and the effects of bad weather on flights. Mark Wallace, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘I think a lot of people would be concerned at the Home Office looking to use technology more generally associated with the tribal borders of Pakistan and the fight against terror over British towns to watch the British public. The flying robo-constable is also “almost silent” in use, and “allows entirely covert operation”.The distributor spokesman said the aircraft are “military derived…obviously I can’t talk too much about that particular use…they are essentially reconnaissance tools.” Since the microdrone isn’t listed among those used by the regular military, this might indicate that the British special forces have taken an interest in the diminutive stealth-chopper, perhaps in a counter-terrorism role.

This would fit in with the Merseyside police reported plans to test it in firearms operations, as well as for more mundane tasks such as monitoring traffic congestion and crowds. So the CCTV revolution continues unabated. Liverpool has gone from Jamie Bulger ( CCTV abduction)  to aerial surveillance and still big brother and the mother of big brother uses money that  could be better spent elsewhere.

Still, as with all things wireless there are workarounds and if you have to  find one lying on the concrete in Bootle its sure to fetch a nice price on Ebay.

Interactive LEDS…say something please.

February 22nd, 2009

Sometimes I get all excited about leds, responsive architecture and sometimes I just think where is the depth of thinking in the current crop of publicly funded artworks. Maybe architecture need to shout and scream to be heard, maybe we need to re-discover the hidden parts of the city….. but, this isn’t art….it something else….

In an age of environmental and economic uncertainty, why is it there is just so many flashing eye candy architectural projects. We have Lab AU, Jason Bruges, Cinomod Studios, United Visual Artists…even Soda…..come on guys say something real about the world with some cultural relevance; or say anything beyond; hey it a playspace and you can control the lights by moving about……I  think Martin Creed did this one the best already)…

Parting shot: Graffiti is better in an underpass than this sort of thing….http://dobpler.com./images/front.jpg. The work appears seductive, technology does that all by itself, but where is the depth in this work. But maybe it will make the kids put the spray cans away….so it pleases the funding bodies. I personally hope its ‘sorted’ out at street level within the week.

I like the sentence about no “intrusive surveillance” involved (from  their website) , maybe thats fence sitting Scandinavian speak to get the commission in the bag, but if your going down this route don’t be afraid to ask the questions.

How to  make more than just flashing lights. The image below shows a proposal to use the CCTV images inside the building on the outside of the building. Presented to Colston Hall 2005.

Copyright Image by Stanza CCTV feeds 2005.

Stanza artwork, a proposal to use the CCTV images inside the building on the outside of the building. Presented to Colston Hall 2005.

Image above copyright Stanza. Live data tracked from CCTV system.

Networked Cities By Stanza. Sensity project.

February 6th, 2009
Copyright Image by Stanza

Networked Cities By Stanza. Sensity project.

Copyright Image by Stanza

The ‘environment’ in these projects is created from a wireless multi nodal multi sensor network that is in place. The network emits live data via a proxy server and the online xml data gateway represent a live communication flow of the city space. This impression and this part of the work is what I term asset gathering and in this case they are constantly gathered into an online system ready for interpretation.

The online interfacing of live real time sensors networks allows a communication with environment, with real space in the present. Control mechanisms of ownership and rights access are opened up my making the data available in the public domain. These real time impressions can be modulated from online interfaces to physical sculptural interpretations.

The data is remade real again as physical objects interpret the virtualized readouts. The analogue is made digital and the digital can be formed into a variety of output devices. The data can be represented as online interfaces like I have made (Sensity , House, both online), or by triggering the technology in the physical world, ie sensors, Leds, displays, robots etc. Sensity can trigger buildings relating to whole cities, or vice versa. The flow of the data can be set to affect the behaviour of the output environment.
The data environment that is created is a mapped on top of the space, a virtual data map or the real world.

Other artists are also allowed access to this “back end city, real data city and they can make their own “Sensities”. In this way the data is open sourced. From any Sensity network numerous artistic interventions can take place. In fact the whole city can be represented, and all artists can make multiple work from this “The Emergent City”.  A city of sculptures re-presenting  real time space.

Page 66 of “Responsive Environments”, Lucy Bullivan. On talking about Usman Haque “he awaits the environment that is simply intelligent”. 1

 

Sensor on Google Maps 2006

stanza datacity

Networked Cities By Stanza. Sensity project. 2004 – 2010

Within Sensity there is now a loop from the real to the virtual and back to the real.  This notion of playing or manipulating with a malleable form (data) is made possible as each stream, each node, each sensor, or even the entire network can be communicated with using this xml online gateway.
We have seen rich shift in relational and responsive interactive works and the move away from gallery as a venue for art to the use of architecture and public domain space in the last twenty years….stanza

In an age of global warming, so many artists are still using the architectural space as a coloured light bulb. As we burn more fossil fuels the light are flashing on and off. Sensity be made more physical on output to represent of the growth of the city as an experience in the real world away from the screen. A city representation of the fabric of city space end the emerging patterns caused by these data flows. An art city can be made where the data powers the wind turbines, the data changing the solar panels that change the lights. Loops of real time data change the meaning all the while changing the  input and output  which is (e)merging into a new space.  Also  see my new works Tree, Sonicity and Capacities. REF.1. “Responsive Environments:  Architecture, Art And Design.”Lucy Bullivan. V & A Publications. 2006.

CCTV in the UK. Stanza 2006

February 6th, 2009
Copyright Image by Stanza

Copyright Image by Stanza 2007. Monument CCTV artwork.

Copyright Image by Stanza

We are becoming obsessed with spying on each and in the extreme maybe we have to be extreme. My Monument above is a sculpture, a robotic CCTV system for spying on us except its right in the middle of the city.

It’s interesting that CCTV in the UK has become so prevalent; however it’s strange it’s taken until now for the press to realize there is something to be concerned about.  [“Surveillance is Really Getting Under my Skin”…by Henry Porter 19.11.2006]  Up until recently this technology was mediocre at best.  The concepts that fuelled this infrastructure seemed to lean to Orwell and the deployment of all CCTV has been paid for by and large using public money which could have been spent elsewhere (housing hospitals schools etc)

We are becoming obsessed with spying on each and in the extreme maybe we have to be extreme. My monument above is a sculpture, a robotic CCTV system for spying on us except its right in the middle of the city.etc).

The question is, how are these new technologies being sold to government? Ie the hugely costly National Health database or ID cards schemes.  In both cases new technologies sold largely untested. In so many cases new technologies are bought by ministers who don’t understand the technology.  How could they understand these implications of these technologies?  They couldn’t understand that in the early days of CCTV most cameras would run out of tape and all of the rest would probably have such bad lenses that you couldn’t see anything anyway. However, it is their duty to understand the conceptual unpinning of the tech rather than how it works.  And the conceptual underpinning seems to have been ignored, or if it hasn’t been ignored then this has gone on unchecked and un-monitored.  Rather like a bush fire, once one system had been put in place by one council; they all followed suite. None of them really checked to see how these systems actually worked or where evaluated.  Plenty of people here have spent plenty of other peoples money fuelling a whole industry to watch us moving about just to spot a few criminals.) or has there always been a bigger picture , a master plan)

Despite ten years of poor CCTV and stories of people  getting attacked only to find  CCTV systems  not  working, the powers  that be,  have stuck  with this  agenda  and  now  the tech (  after  huge development and investment)  can read the time off your  wristwatch.  So know we have men sit in kiosks watching our movement through city space and software that can detect patterns on the flow, where you are going.

Now the technology has got interesting there are other considerations.  The patterns we weave through our urban infrastructure can inform us about our urban and rural environment.  But these systems should be used to watch people, we should trust our people.  The premise of all this current deployment is mistrust.  Ie these systems have been put in for the wrong reasons.

As  much  as people  watch and vet  criminal activity  for employment in schools  etc  who is  watching  these  people  watching  and monitoring  these systems.

Certainly data bases of information are growing and expanding and in theory the public think there are hackers out there using sophisticated techniques to get access to data.  By and large back doors  are like  all doors,  most  entry is  done because the doors  aren’t closed ie they  are  left  open . The idea of thinking about back doors is to  suggest that criminals are looking to  leverage there way in (  although this my be the case ) it its  too focused  of the criminal misuse  of collective  data and not focused enough on what value the data give the collective.

There is  far  worse  response  it  the collective  abuse  by  the owners  of these  systems, this is what needs to  be monitored  Take the  national  DNA  database  which is owned by the forensic science department. Who owns this data, could it ever be sold. How else is the data being exploited?  Who owns each individuals data, surely we each and all own the copyright to our own DNA.  Why is the state taking our possessions, our DNA and re appropriating our data like another tax. Although they say they seek to protect us (ie the reason for collecting the data)   how are they actually protecting my data? How do they seek to exploit ‘ property’ which is mine that has a value?  Why do I feel abused?

More importantly in the systems data can be mined in ways that we cannot conceive. The development of new algorithms, data mining, and computer techniques can leverage and present new meaning from these systems in ways that we haven’t come close to guessing at.  These new  data  sets  can be  exploited  for  corporate  gain, even though  the  data  belongs to the individual.

This  data  can  also  be exploited to   track   patterns  that  we  have  spent  the  best  part  of the  20th C  trying  to   avoid, ie  totalitarian,  iron curtains,  Bentham observation  systems where everyone  is  spying on everyone.

Stanza London Art

Stanza London Art. Live CCTV visualisation. 2005

For example lets  get  complicated  and mix  your  tax  records  with  patterns  of spending  from your credit cards, and  your DNA type,  mix  this  up   with you  mobile phone  records  and  we  can probably  find  for  example  any man of Irish decent  who is married that might have bought a  condom….or  Muslim who travels regularly  or….

The  issue  with most  of  this  vulnerability  of new  technology is  that most  people who  want to  use  it have  no  idea  how  to   use  it,  or  no idea  that  thing  can always  be  used  for  others  reasons.  Example  mobile  phone  for speech communication  is  now  widely  used  as  typewriter text  editor for sending tested messages.  This is just an example of a ubiquitous technology that goes to market and the people that brought it to market aren’t even aware what it might be used for. (I mean who would have guessed it)

Now  with  CCTV  and chips and  data mining  of  databases  things  are  getting complex, without  some  ethical  monitoring  we  will have no   idea  what  is  being sourced  here  and how  its  is  being  used and  abused.  Nor will we have any idea how this data is being shifted around, cross referenced and exploited by companies and governments never mind terrorists and criminals.

Maybe the world is indeed full  of  criminals but  by and large we shouldn’t baton  down the hatches Let  the data be  made  public, open it up…..not  just one  gate  keeper. Everyone whose data is on the system should have access. Lets try another approach lets trust one another.

stanza

CCTV images are being recorded

I believe we should remove the passwords. What is the point of just trusting a select few people we don’t know we should trust everyone. It’s surely better to trust everyone than to mistrust everyone which is the road we have taken.