Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’


June 18th, 2010

Stanza . Responsive architecture. 2010. AOF Facade Norway.

This proposal has won the Nova Folkets Hus facade international juried competition and is now in development. The facade becomes a live dynamic interface, an artwork that changes its behavior as a result of the changing condition in the environment. This works by sensing the city and the environment to make art. The results become representations of the real time spaces and environment of Trondheim.

Environmental data is collected across the urban and environment infrastructure to make the artwork; using custom made sensors in the building and around the city. (30 custom environmental sensors units measure, light, noise, sound, humidity, and temperature). This data is turned into a online real time visualization of the space. The sensors interpret the micro-data of the interactive city. The output from the sensors display the real time environmental and emotional state of the city online in real time and the information will be used on the façade and online interface to control it.

My environmental sensors are scattered all over the building and city; this means I am literally painting with live data.

Stanza Live City Data

Artwork sensors in the building and around the city. Stanza 2010.

Three exhibitions currently featuring my work. April 2010

March 30th, 2010

Three exhibitions currently featuring my work using data, and ideas connected with surveillance space, mapping, landscape and networked spaces. April 2010


Image: Stanza live real time city data visualisation. 2007

1. ”Map Marking” features five works by artists and designers who employ digital technology to create maps, annotate them or intervene in the mapping process. Taken as a whole this exhibition represents a personalized cartography that endows maps and the spaces to which they are linked with the ephemera of life, from the fleeting sensations of the environment to the transitory movements of people and their emotions.
Apr. 6 – May 7, 2010, tue – fri, 12 – 6 pm, with a reception on Apr. 21st at 6:00 pm. The PDG show description ( ).

2. 2. “Park” Towneley Park Burnely as part of AND festival. April 2010 Looking towards the window in the gallery you can see a digital virtual landscape of the view through the window. The artist has embedded an image of the real world inside the artwork and using a network of multiple wireless sensors in Towneley Park he has recorded light, temperature, noise, humidity using customised environmental technologies. The painterly squiggles on the image show the data and the sounds you can hear are streams of data which the artist has turned into sound.

3. Decode at V & A. Until 11 th April.  Sensing the gallery and the environment to make art. The results are the visualisation and sonification of real time spaces. 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.


Image: Stanza Sensity V@A Decode Show.

Stanza generative coded wall.

March 4th, 2010
Brent Wall Projection example copy

Image: Stanza Wall Projection 2009

This artwork is inspired by the idea of an emergent data city. As we walk about, the patterns we make via phones, and gps systems, leave traces and memories of the places we have visited. This artwork tries to re-create those patterns as abstracted movements captured over time. The end result, the output are ‘maps’. “Codefied” creates patterned maps actioned by the interpretation of the code.

In the next version live networked data from GPS and 3g networks will create a live realtime accurate system of where we all are in the world at any one time. (screen size needed 1024 by 768) . In development it uses eleven people in real time to track through the city. Update march 2009.  I now have developed the GPS system fopr 15 people that tracks them all through the city and a preformance based piece is in development; an audio visual sonification and visualisation tracing / tracking the event in real time.

Brent Wall Projection example

Image: Stanza Wall Projection 2009

artwork by stanza….building as art…

“Visitors to a Gallery”- Exhibition. Plymouth Arts Centre.

March 4th, 2010
stanza_i_am _stanza

Image: Stanza. Title "Visitors To A Gallery" - 2007

This artwork uses the live CCTV system inside an art gallery to create a responsive mediated architecture.  This project continues where Publicity version one (2004) left off, ie hacking or utitlizing existing real time CCTV networks.

This version is made inside the Plymouth arts centre where I was artist in residence for a month (feb 2008).

Custom made electronics and sonar sensors are placed to create an installation in the gallery space. Visitors to the main upper gallery control the CCTV feeds by their own movement in the space. The piece becomes a semi performative controlled system. The proximity to the main ultrasound sensors affects the aesthetic of the image.


Image: Stanza. Title "Visitors To A Gallery" - 2007

Stanza real Time Smart City featured at Decode at V & A. Sensing the gallery and the environment to make art.

March 4th, 2010

Stanza: Decode at V & A. Sensors all Over The Gallery

Last few days to  see decode at the V & A. London.This is what it looked like in 2008.

Its been quite a success despite the difficulty in keeping my  live sensor network running for a month. Sensing the gallery and the environment to make art. The results are the visualisation and sonification of real time spaces. 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 Sensors On Google Maps

Stanza Sensors On Google Maps



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.

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.


September 29th, 2009

iMAGE: stanza gps maP. 2005

The image above by Stanza is a series of GPS walks in Bristol made in 2003.

Is London ( or could it be ) a “Digital City”?
So it seems it says the interesting show at the “Building Centre”, where about 20 architecture and design studios are proposing a selection of multimedia solutions and applications for the city. The city is analyzed and re-projected following the ideas and guidelines of information technologies, information and technical controls, the two parallel and opposite lines of the digital field.

Projects illustrate utopian projects through a wide use of applications like huge screens or elaborated audiovisual devices. All together, it’s the idea of the city as a network and information space. “The London City Model” of Gmj design reconstructs in 3d about 40 sq. km of the city, other groups work on a map of pollution in London like the studio “Casa” while “Atmos” designs an installation that maps the sun’s presence through the reception of data mapping meteorological stations around the world thus cataloging the different brightness in different cities of the planet.

The projects extend the digital applications in the field of design and they highlight the near future possibilities of digital to make the city more accessibile and to communicate its contents, to develop an architecture of communications that shows a city different from the delirious steel & crystal that the “archi-stars” are making as the main character of architecture.

Since the nineties, London has been one of the focal points of contemporary art.

How is the space in town for digital arts?
There is space, though not space for big shows, that are located more often in Liverpool, Hull or other minor centres. Since many of the languages are, (or are becoming by now digital, like video and photography), it’s more difficult to distinguish between digital arts and visual arts.
Video art is present in visual galleries like the “historical” “White Cube” that shows the latest works by Sam Taylor Wood, a video installation on 8 screens, “Sigh”, where an orchestra plays without instruments, while the musicians mime the actions of playng.

Prevalence of “feeling” over acting? Refusal of the image of things and reference to contents?
Beyond video the digital scene is still researching and experimenting on borderline spaces, developing in art colleges, or through some specialised galleries. But in the London public spaces there is just now a wide presence of Raphael Lozano Hemmer’s works, a big installation at Barbican Centre, where the public’s shadows activate radio waves, defining the invisibile presence of the innumerable signals that surround us.

Meanwhile, in the historical space of Trafalgar Square there is a big video installation, “Underscan”, sequences of video-portraits taken in northern England and based on virtual relationships through media. Sleeping people are activated by the shadows of passers-by and seem to contact the public with the purpose of involving the “other” alienated in society.
Where there is today an underground but steady growth of digital media in the artist’s field.
Integration of digital media is on its way in the art system and mainly in the teaching of the art colleges furnishing artists and materials for a an art scene particularly active like the London one.

These artists translate the digital and comunication language forms, that are by now more complex then in the 80’s and 90’s.

Stanza, artist and researcher at Goldsmith’s College works on definition of “topographies” called “Biocities” or “Innercities”, traces and paths through satellite projects or webcam, control cameras, etc… Like in “Urban Generations” that accumulates live-cctv sequences from different global points in an image of the city always renewed, post-producted in a collage of different engines re-elaborating data on view.

stanza artwork

IMAGE: Stanza artwork. Visualisation of data.

Stanza screenshot of live data visualisation of the city

The Goldsmith College itself works on new media and organizes conferences .
For example “Metadata”, with speakers such as Lev Manovich and Lozano Hemmer, who talk about using the data and the web digital memory as a platform a well as a tool itself, working on the accumulation of different fonts.

The Slade School’s approach to media is different, starting not so much from the media culture but from issues typical of contemporary arts. The section “Scemfa” teaches concepts of new media and has a website with news and works inside and outside the School. Several artists are teaching in the department (of digital media?). For instance, Susan Collins who, from the nineties, focuses her work on relationships between digital image and its development in time, following a given concept. As it happens in “Slow Fields”, where she gradually “leafs through”, or processes a landscape using a webcam putting it in a data base extending the image over a year. Codifying and encoding image as time based data as stripes of visualization, showing pixels reavealing the digital nature of the image. As in other works like “Harewood”, “Fenlandia” and “Glenlandia”, equally based on showing the material-immateriality of digital, exasperating its processes.

Also at Slade School, Simon Faithfull works on a “look from outside”, emphasizing mechanical movements, casual or pre-designed, recognizing spaces in a trip to Alaska as seen through an airplane porthole, or like the video “30 Km” shot from a weather balloon, or the whole circuit of a subway line. The target? Mapping space and mapping our relation with it.
While the digital area in London connects through “Node”, media network on the web, some galleries choose media-oriented languages like “http” directed by Mark Garrett, author of the “Furtherfield org”, proposing art on the net since a long time. The gallery “Http” wants to be related only to digital languages but located in a physical space that models the net and network concepts. “The Space”, has a long history and it’s a partly “no profit” structure that manages studios and low cost reidencies for young artists.

Just as a gallery, has opened to new media and is showing “New Media in Canada”, several Canadian artists using media culture: Peter Flemming, Germaine Koh, Joe Mackay, Nicholas Stedman, Norman White. The works, still very different for every artist, are all engaged in operations of measurments, reckonings, using technological tools and inserting tiny deviances outlining contradictions. Flemming’s boat contains water and does not navigate, Stedman’s robot ( remembering Deep Blue ) reacts to contact with human skin.
All works tend to find ironic solutions to the questions seriously posed by the “Technoart” in these years in dramatic tones. The “distance” taken from the digital issues by artists is shown in the choice of the tradition of “mechanical toys” and the odd structures of so many digital art devices, thus opening to a more fluid use of those same issues in plastic arts.
“Arts Catalysts” organizes shows in different spaces on “site specific” choices, networks and installations like “Nuclear. Art and Radioactivity”, working on the issue of nuclear energy, repositioning the problem in parallel with the new and controversial projects of nuclear structures.
The show, installed in an abandoned public structure, left the public alone to discover a video, “Half Life”, memories of an old nuclear centre, and a radioactivity detector signalling radiations in an empty and ruined office like in the movie “Stalker”. The techno-scientific issues raised by Arts Catalysts both with discussions and installations try to link creative issues to ecology, science, space and biotecnology.

Showing video as well is the classic I.C.A (even with vj) and the British Film Institute, with artists’ videos, and video-compilations by “Onedotzero”. And active as well groups about web-tv and vj like “AddictiveTv” and “ne1co” working on video languages and live media in a scene of mixed cultures both in clubs and on Net.

So in a very short visit Digital/London looks difficult to seize. It is more a collage of very different elements from established White Cube and Hunch of Venison gallerie, public spaces like Barbican Centre or Trafalgar Square or institutional structures like I.C.A.
Of course the main role is played by the experimental structures doing courageous shows like “The space”, “Http” and “Arts Catalysts” and a number of small groups working in the direction of net and public spaces.

While research structures and galleries look for a space of mediation with the public and the art system, a future change will surely come from the art colleges by now working with video and various softwares .
Out of “Media Arts”, the issues opened by use of digital instruments lead to consequent changes in the aesthetic production and in the productive role of the artists.
And they reveal many unknown quantities about the contemporary art system, today in full mediatic visibility and museum explosion, but still cautious towards the contents of the more radical digital arts.

Lorenzo Taiuti

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.

Sensing people indoors.

February 19th, 2009

I  have been looking at different solutions for sensing people indoors so I have pasted this in below.

“Some suggestions for indoor sensing. Each team must build a sensing system that can perform dead reckoning as people walk through a 10m x 10m arena, which will be located in the poster/demo session of the conference. The goal is to estimate the final position of the person given the initial position. Teams can use up to 5 body sensors, which may include accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, etc. Each team can also setup at most 2 sensors in or around the arena, but predefined paths must remain unobstructed for people to walk, as shown in the diagram below.  The predefined paths will not be revealed until the day of the competition, and will be marked with tape. Examples of sensors placed in the arena might include passive infrared motion sensors, active infrared break beams, ultrasound, dopplar radar, weights sensors, etc. These sensors can be useful for on-line calibration of the body sensors. The sensor systems have three restrictions: 1) no system may have data cables more than 12 inches in length* 2) no system may impede the motion of the person being sensed, and 3) no system may use more than 7 pixels in total, eg. no cameras with more than 7 pixels, and no more than 7 single-pixel** sensors. Signal emitters will be permitted, as long as they do not interfere with other teams’ sensors and as long as they do not help the system emulate more than seven pixels (see below*). Each time a person walks a path with a team’s sensors, that team will be required to update a server with its current position estimate at least once per second. The path estimate will be visualized and projected onto a wall.”


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.


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.

Surveillance State

February 6th, 2009

The proliferation of CCTV cameras and the growth of the DNA database were two examples of threats to privacy, the Lords constitution committee said.Those subject to unlawful surveillance should be compensated while the policy of DNA retention should be rethought. The government said CCTV and DNA were “essential crime fighting tools”.
“The huge rise in surveillance and data collection by the state and other organisations risks undermining the long-standing tradition of privacy and individual freedom which are vital for democracy,” Lord Goodlad added.
“If the public are to trust that information about them is not being improperly used, there should be much more openness about what data is collected, by whom and how it is used.” The government said CCTV and DNA were “essential crime fighting tools” but acknowledged personal data should only be used in criminal investigations where necessary.
“The key is to strike the right balance between privacy, protection and sharing of personal data,” a Home Office spokesman said.

“This provides law enforcement agencies with the tools to protect the public… while ensuring there are effective safeguards and a solid legal framework to protect civil liberties. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has rejected claims of a surveillance society as “not for one moment” true and called for “common sense” guidelines on CCTV and DNA.

She recently announced a consultation on possible changes to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, under which public bodies can conduct covert surveillance and access data, to clarify who can use such powers and prevent “frivolous” investigations. The Conservatives said the government’s approach to personal privacy was “reckless”. “Ministers have sanctioned a massive increase in surveillance over the last decade, at great cost to the taxpayer, without properly assessing either its effectiveness or taking adequate steps to protect the privacy of perfectly innocent people,” said shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve. Ref…

The image below show the artist Stanza’s DNA on the outside of a building made public for all too see.

Copyright Image by Stanza

390,000 to access child database

January 29th, 2009

A child protection database containing the contact details for all under 18-year-olds in England will be accessible to 390,000 staff, say ministers. The Contact Point database is intended to improve information sharing between professionals working with children Children’s Minister Baroness Morgan said parents would not be allowed to remove their children from the list.

The Conservatives attacked the £224m database as “another expensive data disaster waiting to happen”. The Liberal Democrats have also previously opposed what they called an “intrusive and expensive project”.

Baroness Morgan is crazy…..this is a blunder waiting to happen, and what happened to childrens rights. This is an ID system for our kids. I don’t even want my child on this list. What happened to allowing parents a say. Allowing 390,000 people access is just sort of insane. Why not just put it all up on the internet and be done with it.

So no I  don’t want my child on your database, and the image below is copyright.

It shows Amber Stanza, not to be used without permission and cannot be stored on any retrieval system without written permission.

Copyright Image by Stanza

Image shows Amber Stanza, not to be used without permission and cannot be stored on any retrieval system without written permission.

Dna debate. Invasions of privacy in new spaces.

December 5th, 2008
Copyright Image by Stanza

Copyright Image by Stanza. Stanza DNA on building.

After my genomixer work in 2004 where I  sequenced my DNA and made a series of artworks, I became interested in the ownership and control of data. With dna, data which is used as criminal evidence there has become growing concern of possible misuse and mismanagement of a large collected database. The gathering of individual sets of data seems to  be quite harmless, its the mass collection and weaving of data ( data mining) where possible issues of abuse will arise.

Anyway there are some interesting posts on a BBC forum.

Here are some of the best.

Of course, if we were all electronically tagged and continuously tracked, there would be even less crime; and innocent people would have nothing to fear…(ok within this sarcastic comment lies the future. Do we want this sort of …..I have nothing to hide mentality to get to this extreme. It would be interesting for sure, but why do we have to live in fear and mistrust everybody else).
I, for one, vouch for safety over freedom. If a police state is what it takes in order to bring about basic safety and lawfulness, then so be it. ( But this one isnt sarcastic…someone wants us to  bring on a police state)
I don’t know what people are complaining about! Our society has become infested with criminals and terrorists.

Retaining DNA samples for the innocent, no matter for what reason, is against the law – end of. By doing so, the police and other authorities are implying that we are guilty of some crime yet to be committed!

If State intrusion continues as is then it won’t be long before the data is taken at birth and everyone is ‘chipped’.

The technology to have data transmitters implanted in humans is nearly with us. Presumably those people happy to have an enforced national DNA database will also be happy to have such a device implanted.

My DNA, identity and medical records belong to me. After me, my details belong to my family. The State has no right whatsoever to assert any kind of ownership, storage or access rights to that information.

For those interested you might like Genomixer. A series of online artworks inspired by the human genome sequence and developed from dna profile which are sequenced from my blood. The online artworks are investigations into genetic codes mapped and re assembled online. The series enables a cross reference all the code on the genome sequence allowing you to intermix or breed your own variable; you can look at the new mix of chromosomes in real time; on line. You can also keep and print this pattern from the website. Works are enabled by dna code extracted from my blood. The sounds and images of code make audio visual self portrait versions.


Real-time CCTV on London buses to improve public safety.

November 12th, 2008

Transport, and public money is leading the way  with technology but it is also being used as technology test beds. More experiments with tech on public transport all dressed up as protecting the public.
Icomera AB, the world’s leading provider of cellular broadband gateways, has announced that its Moovbox technology has been selected to provide real-time communications for a major trial of live CCTV on London buses to improve public safety. 21st Century CCTV, a division of TG21 plc, has equipped twenty-one double-decker buses in North London with the technology, which allows live images to be transmitted to a central control centre shared by officers from TfL and the Metropolitan Police’s Transport Operational Command Unit. The six-month trial on behalf of Transport for London (TfL) will monitor and analyse the use of the technology to decide whether it can help deal with incidents on buses more effectively.

“Transmitting CCTV streams is a bandwidth-intensive task,” said Ola Sjölin, Icomera CEO. “Our mobile gateways employ patented switching and load balancing technology that leverages multiple cellular backhaul links to provide the fastest possible connection for public safety applications such as this. Our relationship with 21st Century CCTV brings together two market leaders to create a best-of-breed solution ideally suited to intensive, mission-critical applications such as that Transport for London is trialing.”

“Robotica­- Control inside the panopticon” by Stanza

November 11th, 2008
Copyright Image by Stanza

Copyright Image by Stanza: Robots making paintings. 2008.

A world premier of Stanza’s Robotica: Control inside the panopticon playful robot installation – with performative and interactive aspects – that questions ideas of surveillance and tracking in popular culture using, robots, CCTV and sensor technologies.

Twelve robots – each named after prison inmate numbers – roam freely on a canvas on the floor of the Gallery. These robotic prisoners are sent out across the canvas with small tasks to complete. This robotic “wandering” is captured over the evening onto the canvas. They create their own painting in their own little prison. The idea of the Panopticon originated with the English utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham as a prison design that would allow an observer to monitor all the prisoners at all times, without any prisoner being aware of whether he was being monitored or not.Like people, robots have common behaviours and can be programmed accordingly i.e. robots can follow a path (path following mode), the can avoid obstacles (avoidance mode) and they can operate in wander mode. They all try to avoid one another – depending on their proximity to one another – while searching the space. In doing so they demonstrate social behaviour.

In moving through the gallery people create a ‘memory space’- a reference to a past created by the traces and paths left behind. The patterns we make, the forces we weave, reveal different ways of moving through the space. These patterns disclose new ways of seeing the world. All the robots are recorded via CCTV and each is made to wear CCTV which is shown on a monitor which also records the event. Police “tape” keeps the robots inside their controlled space. The robots mimic and trace the patterns people make – but based on algorithms. The robots are tracked – everything is watched and recorded – and unlike people their movements can be networked into retrievable data structures that it can be re-imagined and sourced for information. The digital patterns of the robots are re-made as analogue patterns. The robot path is in effect replaced with a series of ‘brushes’ – and it is these that are wandering around the canvas. A series of actions are applied to the movement of the digital brush across the rectangular canvas to create these robotic generative paintings.

This artwork investigates the relationship between the analogue and the digital aesthetic. The robots wander over the canvas to make the image – and this also protects the floor. The suggested canvas size 2.5 by 5m – and therefore a reasonable floor space is needed. All the robots will see the edges of the canvas and turn around automatically) i.e. they are roped off and will not go wandering off on their own!

The Emergent City. Online visualizations, the networked city.

November 11th, 2008
stanza city

Stanza City: Generative Software System.

This text is a transcript of one of my talk about my work The Emergent City.

My current work remains focused on the creative use of technology integrated into urban space.My areas of interest include investigating new concepts for the relationship of the physical body, emergent data and real space in the built environment.

As an artist I am trying to create artistic metaphors for new creativity using new technologies and integrating new media artworks into the public domain. As an artist I am trying to create artistic metaphors for new creativity using new technologies and integrating new media artworks into the public domain. There are three strands of my working process; these involve; collecting the data, visualizing the data, and then displaying the data. The outputs from the online interfaces and online visualizations can be realized as real time dynamic artworks as diverse as installations, and real objects, made out of new display materials back in physical space. In all my work I try to exploit the changing dynamics of city life as a source for creativity and create meaningful artistic metaphors. I utilize new technologies and integrate new media artworks into the public domain as part of this ongoing research into the visualization of city space.

In essence I am researching data as a medium for creativity and how meaningful experiences of our cities may result. From a technological peprspective, I am researching sensors , motes, new display technologies and interactive architectures. This research includes investigations into…..Concepts for the relationship of mobile computing within urban space and the built environment.

The Emergent city is to be a group, a body of artworks that I am working on all connected by a central theme. As you know a city is a web of connected networks. In essence, the city fabric is a giant multi-user, multi-data sphere. The city is made up of traffic patterns, pedestrian patterns, bird flocking patterns. Patterns can be seen in the architecture, patterns in the buildings, patterns in the architectural fabric of the urban design network. All of these spheres can be represented by media and therefore by data within the digital realm. And all of this data can be interpreted and mediated. It becomes a matter of choice. Collections of data can be stored to be retrieved later. The mobile data infrastructure becomes a data source so powerful so interwoven that its scale can only be imagined as metaphor. The size and scope of such an archive, of such rich mediated data experience can support many projects. As such it can be interpreted via a variety of interfaces. Cities offer the opportunity for unique types of data gathering experiences via a variety of sources.

My objective is to ‘mediate’ data into conceptual artifacts. With this perspective there are many unimagined threads of data and connections that describe our world that can be explored through wireless mobile networks within which we can create artistic interpretations. There are various types of data can be re-imagined. This includes pollution data recorded via sensors in the street, to create audio files. Weather and forecast data, acquired via weather station equipment, this can be used and can create ambient soundscapes and morphing visualisations as the wind shifts direction or the rain increases. Noise monitor levels, and noise maps, create a symphony of true urban sounds that can be used to make sound reactive sculptures. So under this umbrella of ‘the emergent city’ project I have made a number of works that have move beyond the process of research, beyond what I term as asset gathering, into what might be alpha beta projects. An example of this is my URBAN GENERATION project. I have also made the online database for soundcities which now has 2000 sounds online line in it. So other artists can interface to it. Memory mapping. About traces and memories of urban space. Multiple viewpoints of data cities. The city also has millions of CCTV.

In essence the city is the biggest TV station in existence. Millions of hours worth of data are recorded every day by these cameras on city TV. One can take the sounds and images off live web streams and re-represent them thus creating new interpretations of the city in the process. The city already has a recorded source of data, CCTV is everywhere. Using data from CCTV, you can bring the outside inside. Selected feeds are collected from around the world in real time. These real time images are fed into a software system where a series of specialised channels rework these images. The channels are always on, and always changing, a constant view of the world changing and evolving around the clock. This uses specially created software and technology to randomly find images in real time from anywhere in the network, in this case anywhere in the world.The increase of technology infrastructure in the daily existence of a city means that technology will, more than ever be everywhere in our environment. Mobile data mining will be part of the fabric of the landscape. We will be carrying this data in pods, phones and ID cards. Everything is or will be tracked. CCTV, car sensors, tracking inside our phones 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. Uses of this information and data should allow rich new interpretations on the way our world is built, used, and designed.

So we need to imagine the city at a different scale. The possibility is to extend our imagination and enable that perception of the city as a dynamic network. We can now put systems in place that can re–employ our perception and thus create new understanding of how this behaviour unfolds. There are patterns, they are connected and the systems that evolve, can be simulated and acted upon. We can influence the process and the system and we can also create variables into this system that allows understanding of the bi-products of the system, the data and the resulting information Currently a research fellow at Goldsmiths Digital Studios.


Datacity: Sensors In The City. Stanza Visualisation.

I am scattering the city with sensors. Hundreds of them, some fixed, and some embedded, to access these data structures and to claim them for the public domain within the realm of social sculptures.I am trying to make smart networks that have data open to all, and not closed off spy surveillance oriented systems. The networks could be thought of as open social sculptures that can inform the world and create new meaningful experiences. Thousands of motes can be deployed across the city for gathering data in wireless sensor networks. Used in large numbers they can communicate with one another via radio signals across the network. They can reconfigure themselves, so that the network stays stable. The data is chanelled through a system to a point where it can then be interpreted. So the concept is to embed the city with thousands of motes to gather data for the creation of artistic artifacts. The motes can monitor sensors such as temperature, sounds, light, position, acceleration, vibration, stress, weight, pressure, humidity, and GPS. Motes and sensor boards can monitor the micro incidents of change in the city, the noise, traffic flows and people flows. The interactions of all this data, controlled via mixed up interfaces that can re-form and re-contextualise experiences in real time as social sculpture. Imagine walking out the door, and knowing every single action, movement, sound, micro movement, pulse, and thread of information is being tracked, monitored, stored, analysed, interpreted, and logged. The world we will live in seems to be a much bigger brother, than first realised. Its a world full of data that can help understand the fundamentals of our outside environment, and monitor the micro codes of our DNA, a world where we are liberated and empowered by data, where finally all of the technology becomes more than gimmick and starts to actually work for us.

So this is where I am at..scattering thousands sensors across the city and trying to figure this out.Sensity artworks are made from the data that is collected across the urban and environment infrastructure. I have a network of sensors which collects data, which is then published online. The sensors interpret the micro-data of the interactive city. The output from the sensors displays the “emotional” state of the city online and the information will be used to create installations and sculptural artifacts.These artworks represent the movement of people, pollution in the air, the vibrations and sounds of buildings, they are in effect emergent social sculptures visualizing the emotional state of the city. The sensor network can be moved from urban to rural setting and different types of visualization can be made depending on the environment. Sensity is an open social sculpture that informs the world and creates new meaningful experiences. Sensity is also a highly technical project that will give vast amounts of information about the fabric of our cities. By embedding the sensors like this we can re-engage with the urban fabric and enable new artistic metaphors within city space. The sensors are positioned across the city. Custom made software enables these sensors to communicate will one another in a network over a proxy server in real time. The data can also be used to create visualizations in an open source environment. Other online users can also re- interpret the data and interrogate the various sensors in the network as this is open sourced as well (see xml streams)l. Representations of these datasets will allow unique understanding of the urban environment and environment in real time. Motes are used to collect the data.


Datacity: Sensors In The City. Stanza Visualisation.

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 weather, the noise traffic flows and people flows. The interactions of all this data, controlled via interfaces that can re-form and re-contextualize experiences in real time. Sensity incorporates the holistic city system. The sense city is a city of, accumulated incidents of love, abuse and death. The micro incidents of change in the weather, the noise traffic flows and people flows. The archives of this data can be controlled via mixed up interfaces that can re-form and re-contextualize experiences in real time; to make emergent sculptures visualizations and sculptures. Sensity leverages the real time data city and represents it online showing the life of the system and the emerging changing bahaviours of the space. The data is the medium. Future cities will be merged real time connected up data cities. Sensity connects up networks of real time information flows. The results are mashed up cities and real time performative city mashings. The shared data space can overlap and there is a new space the space in between that only two nodes share. The aetheticization of the shared city space. I have merged collected data from various cities. The images below show an integrated architecture the space where the cities overlap and create a new architectural space. Technology. I now have several sensor kits both twenty nodes that can be placed up to 300 meters apart with GPS. I have made two versions of the Sensity interface software. One works with recorded data (ie recorded data) and one that works with the real time data, which means the sensors are switched on always and working through a router. The changing data is what affects what you see and experience. The sensors can monitor temperature, sounds, noise, light, acceleration, vibration, pressure, humidity, and gps. The sensors take a constant stream of data which is published onto an online environment where different interface can make representations of the XML and from this lots of artistic interpretations can be imagined.

Other artworks made:- HOUSE AND GALLERY:

see stanza (04 – 08)


Datacity: Sensors In The City. Stanza Visualisation.