Archive for the ‘research’ Category

CCTV: ART HISTORIES.

July 1st, 2008

Video installation by Bruce Nauman.

Live Taped Video Corridor (1970)

http://bridell.com/tag/bruce-nauman/

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.

http://www.tate.org.uk/liverpool/exhibitions/nauman/guide/room4.shtm

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.’ http://www.chrisoakley.com/the_catalogue.html

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 www.annstoddard.net, 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 astoddard@net-site.com 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.

Software to “hear” sounds.

June 25th, 2008

CCTV cameras which use artificial intelligence software are being developed to “hear” sounds like windows smashing, researchers have revealed.

University of Portsmouth scientists are working on adapting the software so it can also react to crowd noise.

Crimes would be captured on camera faster and response times improved.

The news comes after the BBC learned councils in southern England routinely used powers brought in to fight terrorism and crime to spy on people.

Figures obtained by BBC South showed the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) was used more than 750 times by the councils in 2007/08. The new three-year surveillance study is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/7471140.stm

http://www.port.ac.uk/aboutus/newsandevents/frontpagenews/title,79126,en.html

The research team is now working on using the same software to ‘learn’ sounds and react to them by swinging the CCTV camera towards in them at the same speed a person would turn their head if they heard someone scream, which is about 300 milliseconds.

Dr David Brown, director of the Institute, said: “The visual-recognition software will be able to identify visual patterns but for the next stage we want to get the camera to pivot if it hears a certain type of sound. So, if in a car park someone smashes a window, the camera would turn to look at them and the camera operator would be alerted.

“The longer artificial intelligence is in the software the more it learns. Later versions will get cleverer as time goes on, perhaps eventually being able to identify specific words being said or violent sounds. We are only listening for specific words associated with violence, not full conversations.”

The software behind this research uses fuzzy logic to identify certain visual cues and sounds. Dr Brown said: “In identifying sound we are looking for the shapes of sound. In the same way, if you close your eyes, you can trace the shape of a physical object and ‘read’ its profile with your hand we are developing shapes of sound so the software recognises them.

“The software will use an artificial intelligence template for the waveform of sound shapes and if the shape isn’t an exact fit, use fuzzy logic to determine what the sound it. For example, different types of glass will all have slightly different waveforms of sound when they smash but they will have the same generic shape which can be read using fuzzy logic.

“It’s a very fast, real-time method of identifying sounds.”

The Cyborg Self And The Networked City. William J. Mitchell.

June 22nd, 2008

Image: Stanza Spiral Jetty 2007 live data visualisation in the grounds at Goldsmiths College London.

Copyright image Stanza artwork…

ME ++. The Cyborg Self And The Networked City. William J. Mitchell. The Mit Press.2003.

Networks connections and the interrelatedness of things that flow through our bodies, our building
“Code is mobile.  Code is everywhere.  And code-for both people and machines who interact with them – is the law”

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:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080215211940.htm

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

stanza kaleidoscopic robots software 2007

Stanza artwork….2007

Participatory Urbanism

May 23rd, 2008
Stanza Image.

Amber stanza with CCTV data globe (no reproduction rights allowed) 2005

Copyright Image by Stanza 2004

We argue there are two indisputable facts about our future mobile devices:

(1) that they will be equipped with more sensing and processing capabilities and (2) that they will also be driven by an architecture of participation and democracy that encourages users to add value to their tools and applications as they use them.

What happens when individual mobile devices are augmented with novel sensing technologies such as noise pollution, air quality, UV levels, water quality, etc? We claim that it will shatter our understanding of these devices as simply communication tools (a.k.a. phones) and celebrates them in their new role as measurement instruments. We envision a wide range of novel physical sensors attached to mobile devices, empowering everyday non-experts with new “super-senses” and abilities. All quoted from the website. Participatory Urbanism

stanza_softwarepeople_trails

Stanza image tracking people from CCTV 2004.

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.

Stanza:
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.

Internet Art and technology. Stanza 2003

January 9th, 2008

Artwork by Stanza: CCTV  Media Visualisation 2005. Large print On Canvas.

The computer has now become a central tool within new media creativity. We are starting to see more and more traditional artists move into the web from other media. This has happened because of a combination of economic conditions, and the artists continual ‘search for the new’.

The internet offers various economical and valuable distribution benefits for artists and artworks. New media creativity also offers a variety of shifting parameters within which the interpretation of previous art histories may be re-evaluated. This is why ‘expression’ and use of the internet as a medium, and a resource has expanded to envelop our new world framework and is embraced by so many artists and art colleges. The use of this new technology also offers a sense of belonging which was never exposed through various other art histories.

This sense of connection is one of several qualities inherent to the internet as a medium for creative expression; sound, visual effect, time, movement and interaction all provide new parameters for the development of contemporary art. Here we have the convergence of painting and printmaking, photography, film and music.

The merging of the audio visual is increasingly becoming a central issue in the development of interactive media. Web artists are fusing the arts, incorporating a wide range range of approaches to the medium of the internet and audio visual practice. Artists are producing new audio visual experiences, and this includes art , games, generative music, interactive environments.

Artists have always been influenced by technology. Previously the artist’s or musician’s studio was a place of many hardwares, softwares, and bits and pieces. Today instead of brushes and paint and wooden stretchers and huge space for storage we a have a small box that can be both studio and gallery. For musicians instead of all sorts of instruments and masses of expensive gear, we have the same small box the PC. So the convergence of hardware and software has enabled many types of creatives to meet or converge. The PC acts as studio and gallery. Works can be disseminated globally. The distribution system has changed and the artist has direct access to a bigger audience through his very own “white cube ” gallery.


It could be said we are now starting to see the emergence of a new art form. As the newness unfolds a history will unfold with it. At the moment there is a blurring of the boundaries as many approaches are adopted, and this is confused further because of the constantly changing and developing nature of technologies which also allows for the artwork themselves to change. We are starting to see a much bigger emphasis on works that generate and evolve.


Certainly there is now a whole new category of online art and music driven by computer technology.

Online, we have net art. These works encounter and engage the user without whose presence in the interactivity the work is not only meaningless but does not exist. Within the global exhibition of such works the parameters of the artists relationship to his audience has shifted ground. We see emerging, a shared multidimensional relationship to these works. So now we find that the computer, this box, is in fact the gallery, the exhibition space, the computer as white cube. This box has become specification for which these works are made and are experienced.


Fifteen to twenty years ago very few computers where being used by creatives in colleges or universities. Now a visit to any college will see classes of art , fashion, graphics, music, all huddled up around the computer screen.

Artists are specifically looking at creative possibilities for the computer and the internet as a medium. One thing seems obvious, more and more artists are being drawn to new media. The diverse range and plurality of backgrounds means that the specifics of this form are hard to evaluate. From design, music, art, and programming various skills are needed to produce work in the digital domain.

So to fully engage with the internet as a medium, the artist must adopt multiple skills and languages in addition to those traditionally associated with the arts. Presented with an internet specific artwork, the visitor must physically engage with the work to experience it as it is meant to be and by that I mean that the work must utilise the qualities inherent to the medium if it is to be considered internet art at all – time must pass, things must change, connection must be made for the experience to be complete.

Text stanza 2003

Buildings as displays. 2005

December 16th, 2007
stanza dna building

One day, all buildings will be giant display screens. Not building with display screens attached or stuck on the front…

My proposal for a dna building ..stanza image

Stanza….Clarks bursury diary notes. 2005

One day, all buildings will be giant display screens. Not building with display screens attached or stuck on the front like in Tokyo, but buildings as a display material with data networked into the architecture itself. The inside of the building the working process, the data, the movement of people in space will be embedded into the architecture via technology, sensors and computers. The building will become a living sculptural entity a display material. In order for this to have we will also need a new type of display material a new polymer based technology. It has yet to be invented. But here is a simulation of data of this experience using live Bristol data.

http://www.stanza.co.uk/ideasrus/display/index.htm

I made this work “Microcity”, to imagine new metaphors relevant to the experience of the city. What happens when we place data sculptures outside in real space. What might these data sculptures look like and how might they behave. This example I made is a 3 d, real time data sculpture made out of an as yet invented new polymer display. The images sent over network from a bank of data from the datascape. A city of data balls with retrievable narrative for experience. Social sculptures contain information zones, banking data, etc Narratives from huge libraries of online videos images stories. System accesses national data archives. The idea is that these balls will float all over the city. (http://www.stanza.co.uk/micro_city/index.html )

A polymer display ball or intelligent material would allow the creation of a datascape of gathered assets, which could contain narrative for creating understanding. Translating what we gather into something we understand or at least into something we can experience.

The increase of technology infrastructure in the daily existence of a city means that technology will, more than ever be everywhere in our environment. Data mining will be part of the fabric of the landscape. Everything is or will be tracked, cctv, car sensors, tracking inside our phones and id card movement 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.

My recent experiments at the Watershed have been investigating this concept of data in the public domain. There is loads of data out there already. The data is like a medium is malleable, it is problematic to work with, and in some cases it is protected by the data protection act. The work “Publicity” (http://www.stanza.co.uk/publicity/index.html) explores placing the inside data of the buildings onto the outside of the building it uses public domain data.

Exploring the notion of who owns the data and the intelligent building. Most buildings have CCTV and they use it to observe the people inside the space, ie the public. In this artwork I use the technology in the building to broadcast all the information outside over the internet into the public domain. An experimental relay was adapted from the Watersheds CCTV live footage of the general public entering the Watershed gallery.

stanza

Stanza image CCTV on the outside of a building to make inside outside. 2004

Stanza image CCTV on the outside of a building to make inside outside. 2004

Focusing on this, I also want to embed the building with intelligence, with sensors, to capture data that can be visualized. I have called this project “Sensity”. Its in development (http://www.stanza.co.uk/sensity/index.html)

Sensity artworks are made from the data that is collected across the urban and environment infrastructure. A network of sensors, some fixed, and some embedded, collects data which is then published online. The sensors then interpret the micro-data of the city. The output from the sensors will be display the emotional state of the city online and the information will be used to create installations and sculptural artefacts.

These artworks made will represent the movement of people, pollution in the air, the vibrations and sounds of buildings, they will be in effect emergent social sculptures visualising the emotional state of the city. Sensity is an open social sculpture that informs the world and creates new meaningful experiences.

A first working prototype is in development which will be embedded into the Watershed. It will bring the building alive. Or rather it will be a live representation of the whole space monitoring environmental data to make visualizations.

Indeed as I mentioned above, the city is already scattered with technology used for surveillance. I have recently added to my works in cctv and surveillance pieces by making a series of new works.

Have a look at http://www.stanza.co.uk/new_york_stories/index.html

Anyway during my last visit to the Watershed I got side tracked trying to make the next version of my robot called “The mating Game”. I have been buying robots off Ebay and messing about with the electronics. So far I have made a multi robot piece using ten robots in a mating ritual. They are basically acting out a courting ritual and generating sounds depending on their position. You can see a series of videos online of the early installation set up. (http://www.stanza.co.uk/robotsmating/mate/index.html).

Stanza

August 2005 ©

Artist as Engineer. “The Author as Producer”

October 31st, 2007
stanza artist robots 2002 - 2010

stanza artist robots 2002 – 2010

stanza artwork

Walter Benjamin (in ‘The Author as Producer’ of 1934) describes the shift in the role of the cultural producer ‘from a supplier of the productive apparatus, into an engineer who sees his [/her] task in adapting that apparatus thus reconciling the means of intellectual production with technical quality’.

‘An author who has carefully thought about the conditions of production today… will never be concerned with the products alone, but always, at the same time, with the means of production. In other words, his [/her] products must possess an organising function besides and before their character as finished works.’ (1983: 98)

The essay recommends that the writer (artist, cultural producer) must reflect upon their position within the production process like a technician, demonstrating expertise alongside solidarity. This alliance is necessary to transform him [/her], ‘from a supplier of the production apparatus, into an engineer who sees his task in adapting that apparatus’ (1983: 102).

All references to Walter Benjamin, ‘The Author as Producer’ in Understanding Brecht, trans. Anna Bostock, London: Verso 1983; written as a lecture for the Institute for the Study of Fascism, in Paris, April 1934. A more recent translation is available in Michael W. Jennings, ed, Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2 1927-1934, trans. Rodney Livingstone et al, Cambridge, Mass. & London: Belknap Press of Harvard University 1999, pp. 768-782.

Surveillance artworks: experiments with realtime images.

October 22nd, 2007

stanza artist


Stanza artwork: Live CCTV online remixed in real time. 2004

Projects with tangible outcomes for the mobile infrastructures. Using CCTV to create emergent artefacts and new ways of seeing the city. In the UK there is one CCTV camera for every 14 people. If you are in London, you could be caught on camera up to 300 times a day. Westminster City Council in London have come up with a solution – CCTV cameras without wires, which broadcast their pictures back to base using the council’s new wireless network. The advantage a wi-fi network camera is the mobility.

The pilot scheme uses five discreet cameras to monitor people’s comings and goings in Soho Square. Wireless CCTV cameras make it easier for more and more cameras to be installed.

“Within the Soho Square we have a network of wireless LAN bridges providing blanket coverage throughout the square,” said Tim Hearn of Cisco Systems which is providing some of the technology. “Down the narrows streets, Greek Street and Frith Street, we have Wi-Fi pointing down those streets as well so they give us coverage down there.” So that’s a network of wireless LAN devices that we then plug into CCTV cameras, we provide access to mobile workers that will have laptops of mobiles working with them, or maybe some specialist devices. “We’re also linking into noise monitoring devices or other sensors,” he said. Sourced from the BBC website.

The city already has a recorded source of data, cctv is everywhere. Using data from cctv, artists can bring the outside inside. Selected feeds are collected from around the city in real time. These real time images can be fed into software systems where a series of specialised channels rework these images. The channels are always on, and always changing, a constant view of any city or environment evolving around the clock.

I have made a system or art project called ccityv which uses specially created software and technology to randomly engage any camera globally. The system can grab images from any source.

I have to extend this to network cameras in the Bristol area. It is now possible to go further and get everyone in Bristol to tell us where webcams and cctv systems are; we could also set up some of our own. We can then grab all this imagery and edit it rework it and manipulate it inside the software.

Using pdas we can also send users to find the cameras to be recorded and re-engage with the world of surveillance. This system can capture portraits to monitor, and we can use it to tell stories and narrative in the street that can come into the ccityv project. This allows a process to start whereby we can get the outside inside and the inside outside. Data maps can be set up using the mobile Bristol software so that users can find these cameras and put themselves in the pictures. Then when it is updated you would be updated into the archive online. So the public can have all sorts of fun with this. The public can use cameras to make narratives, take portraits, subvert the surveillance process etc.

My system is online and can be engaged with in the everyday use by anyone. Most importantly it is inside the gallery projecting onto display devices. Note this is in real time, it is also online (see urls below); see the date and time stamp on each one. Also if a camera does not load please wait and a new one will be found immediately. Sometimes cameras go offline. The first image to load is a ‘dummy’ image.

Stanza artworks using CCTV

URBAN GENERATION

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

YOU ARE MY SUBJECTS

http://www.stanza.co.uk/i_spy/index.htm

http://www.thecentralcity.co.uk/ccityv/

http://www.stanza.co.uk

stanza cctv artwork

Stanza image of cctv artwork.

The results are like an online realtime vj system mixing CCTV  images from around the worlds in real time.

bristolglobe

Cloud of data in Bristol. 2003. Live data responsive system

Ethical grounding and changing relationship to our data in our surveillance driven society

December 9th, 2006

The ethical implications of using personalized data and CCTV recordings are embedded within the UK Data Protection Act.

The lawyers at the Watershed media Centre looked into this on my behalf. They concluded that provided the images were abstracted then this also met the guidelines of the Data Protection Act.

In general I aim for transparency, and gain consent if I use personal data. I also open the data via shared ownership which is placed in public domain. In my work collected data is subject to abstraction through my working process; once the personal identifiers have been removed from the data, then the resulting anonymized dataset is no longer subject to the Data Protection Act.

The key rules underlying the Act are:

  • Transparency – ensuring individuals have a very clear and unambiguous understanding of the purpose(s) for collecting the data and how it will be used;
  • Consent – at the time that the data is collected, individuals must give their consent to their data being collected, and also at this time, have the opportunity to opt out of any subsequent uses of the data.

Key to the rules of the Data Protection Act is what we describe as personal data. Within “The Emergent City”, I will initially focus on the data sets of noise, pollution, light, and temperature. In the collection of this type of data there is no conflict with data protection of privacy laws.

In the case of CCTV and more specific data for personal use, signs are usually put up in the public domain. Where I put my owns networks I will place signs. Consent has been sought in previous projects that make work which doesn’t have anonymity.

Issues of data protection have a great deal currency due to emerging technologies that are being embedded into the fabric of our everyday lives.

The whole emphasis of my work is in data relating to urban spaces to make informed, interpretive media artworks. However the use of the data that can be utilized from these tracking and surveillance technologies will also be important and have influence on my artistic working practice.

I am continuing to explore these issues, especially as data protection expands into technologies such as; smartcards for national identification (ID) schemes; biometric data, including proposed biometric passports; microchip implants and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

In summary the ethical grounding and changing relationship to our data in our surveillance driven society bring up a whole paradigm of debate that I am keen to engage in. This debate is very complex and also very current, and I aim to follow it and engage within it closely.

Sensity: The online interfacing of live real time sensors networks allows a communication with environment, with real space in the present.

January 10th, 2006

Screen-Shot-2013-08-10-at-21.43.03dSensity: Environments. The ‘environment’ in these projects is created from a wireless multi nodal multi sensor network that is in place. The analogue is made digital and the digital can be formed into a variety of output devices.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. The environment is intelligent its just that we don’t know how to communicate with this space yet.

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.

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.

Can 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.

stanza image

Can 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.

stanza image

Surveillance Cultures . The central issue that will develop will be the privilege and access to these data sources.

November 14th, 2005

In essence London 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 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 IDS cards. ballin-bristollaserEverything is or will be tracked. CCTV, car sensors, tracking inside our phones and id card movement 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.