Materializing Social Data in the City

Exhibition Concept

Day by day, life in cities is changing and being affected by the information coming from virtual platforms. The information we create in virtual worlds merges into real life and becomes a part of the daily life activities in cities. Cloud intelligence, online social networks and new technologies for urban displays such as media façades are showing us a new way to discover and to present the information created by the inhabitants of the city. The source of our information (which is, most of the time, about our real life experiences), the technology to share information (cloud computing and social networks) and the potential media to display the information converge into a new field that can be referred as Urban Information Interfaces. This ongoing convergence is about to create new fields of art and commerce as well as affecting the society of the city in an inevitable way.

In “Digital Ground”, Malcolm McCullough discusses the “paradigm shift from building virtual worlds toward embedding information technology into the ambient social complexities of the physical world.” In this new landscape of embedded technology, there is an opportunity for creating an interface between architecture and virtual information, turning architecture into an interactive surface for reading and exploring real-time social data from the internet. At this point, is it possible to talk about a feedback loop that may occur between virtual platforms and psychical urban life in the future? What would happen if we let virtual information shape our environment and architecture? How would this feedback affect the speed and qualities of communication and the dynamics of our society?

In this exhibition, Social Bits aims to explore possible avenues of output and display the invisible information in the cityscape via media art.

Fluid Data
Jayme Cochrane (CA)

Fluid Data is a dynamic urban interface combining social data with architecture. The amount of location-specific content being posted online is impossible to keep track of, and this project intends to make that data visible. Real-time Twitter posts from İstanbul and İstanbul news articles will gently flow around the gallery, showing how much data about the city is constantly being created in real-time. Highlighting architectural elements, the data will follow paths in and out of a room, appearing in the space via the Internet, flowing along the architecture, then disappearing again, back into the social data sphere.

h.o (JP)

kazamidori is a media gadget like weather vane to indicate the direction of where visitors in a website are coming from in real-time. The weather vane is designed as a bird, like traditional weather vanes, as it will face the direction where the virtual ‘wind’ is coming from. Every day, visitors arrive at the website virtually and kazamidori aims to physically display where the interested audience is, on a worldwide level. In this exhibition, the system will be pointed towards the website of Sabancı University. As a result, visitors to the gallery can see the direction where Kasa Galeri is being followed in the world, while imagining the subtle feelings of the virtual visitors.

Slogan Generator
h.o and Dentsu (JP)

Slogan Generator is a media gadget to dynamically create slogans for a specific event. This project was started in the 2008 Ars Electronica Festival as a new advertisement campaign to show social interests as a new type of slogan. Each event will have its own slogan, such as the Ars Electronica Center’s “Museum of the Future”. In this project, we developed a system to record the keywords people are using to access the website and to convert the “Museum of the Future” slogan to new ones such as “Museum of the ?” by using the keywords generated by users. Through this idea, we can see social contributions dynamically.

In this exhibition, we will point this system towards the web site of Amber Festival. This gadget will show the social universe of this festival.

Urbansphere Wearables
Mahir M. Yavuz (TR)

Urbansphere Wearables aims to reflect the daily keywords of the city by utilizing the data streams of social networks as a source of fashion design. The project initiates “social sensors” (special filters and data gathering scripts that follows Twitter) in order to collect information on social networks created by different inhabitants of the same city. The data gathered is then visualized and turned into a pattern for wearables that represent the recent topics and discussions of urban people. In the exhibition, visitors will see a set of unique wearables that contains data from İstanbul.