mjm20 _Critical Practice

MA Creative Media, University of Brighton
(mjm20) Digital Cities

Lee O’Neill _mjm20.m4v from leeoneill on Vimeo.

“I am lost in the crowd, I am anonymous. In my phone, in my space, I matter.”

(Bassett, 2003:350)

This finalised piece is a short movie that uses geolocative augmented reality (AR) to illustrate the mutual constitution of software and socio-spatial practice. It could be argued that the immersive seduction of a digital co-presence mediates and re-codifies urban space through a process of negation and investment in an economy of sustained attention. Ubiquitous and pervasive mobile technologies are blurring the borders of time, community and space facilitated by gamification, quantification and surveillance; conflating online and offline identity and making it increasingly difficult to determine which side of the screen is which. The short film exploits the graphic infancy of contemporary AR technology to illuminate the sophistication of situational data aggregation and commodification. This critical reflection seeks to discuss the accumulation of intimate and long-term data of desires and behaviours in the context of civil liberty and freedom of mobility.





In summary

During the week on ‘Smart Cities’ I quoted Townsend’s (2013) description of “urban space as an irredeemable patchwork”, 2013, p. 3. Over the module this metaphor of a patchwork can be further applied to the multiple academic disciplines that become stitched together in any critical analysis of Digital Cities, consequently leading to diverse responses each week, by the participating students.

Lee tended towards posts focused on the effects of digital technology on people, describing his own recurring theme as “the investigation of a significant opportunity for policy makers to consider how technology can improve the future lives for all citizens.” However, he generally has approached this from a position of caution over the possible outcomes and side effects of technology, commenting during the week on Smart Cities that, “The focus must not be dominated by economic goals of efficiency held ransom to capital mobility; automating proprietary and ubiquitous ‘big data’ at the expense of civil liberty; ultimately emasculating citizenship to be a consumer held hostage.”  He worries that software, “erodes the element of choice on how to engage or function as a citizen.” and describes ‘Layar’ as having “[a]n intimate and almost seamless experience” as it , “seduces the user to engage and share, daring to tell all.” When considering the effects of combining sensors with software and referencing Elliot, A., & Urry, J., (2010)  Lee suggests that when we start to see citizens as data there is no longer “room for affect, emotion or irrational desire for citizens are objectified as scrutinised data subjects, citizen becomes consumer identified by the narcosis of accumulating brands and experiences.”  I have found Lee’s perspective to be a useful one particularly as he has sought to find a global perspective, as a number of his examples highlight the effect of technology on citizenship, particularly those at the fringes of society.

Rachael started from a more optimistic point of view, hopeful for the opportunities facing digital cities. For example she ends the post on Augmented Reality by saying, “With the hope that in the future this might give way to more democratic, diverse uses and forms of engagement.” After investigating Rezone as an example for urban gaming, she exclaims excitement at the “potential for a more democratic and collaboratively built infrastructure between citizens, city planners, and politicians.” however, this excitement is tempered by a consideration of how citizens may make use of new technologies by asking “does this actually ensure a more democratic, connected and collaborative public, which contributes to the development of smart city infrastructures that benefits the needs of all?”.

James provided a number of sensory metaphors for digital space made real in the physical manifestations of technology. Going from “the work of Michelle Teran who used Stephen Flusty’s (1994) taxonomy of “interdictory spaces” to  show the ways that urban space is made defensible, often via code driven devices.”, and identifying that “Flusty’s (1994) account that makes code/spaces “jittery” spaces and in qualifying as “jittery” spaces this probably makes them quite “prickly” too.” through to prickly antennas. This continued into his  ‘jittery’ augmented reality experiments with physical objects and more recently the phone app experiments he demonstrated last week. All of which have led to some really interesting examples.

In re-reading my own posts, I notice that they have generally tended towards a reflection of personal experience based around the various topics. Starting from a position of concern over “the reliance on technology and how technology is used to try add levels of control to an ultimately chaotic system.” and identifying problems through barriers to access and participation, thinking specifically about the week on Smart Citizens and the Smart Citizen example. However, I have tried to find contextual examples that interpret the critical discussion within creative and/or commercial practice to aid a balanced view.

Links to even more projects and articles can be found on my Pinterest page, http://www.pinterest.com/teneuss/Pinterest

I am regularly adding pins whenever I come across something interesting, if you are a Pinterest user you could always follow me 🙂

Printed Houses

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 00.57.34Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 00.57.51

One of the promises of 3-D printing discussed by Lipson and Kurman (2013, p.15) is that it will bring qualities associated with digital information to the physical world. They argue that by precisely controlling the material composition of physical objects, materials can be potentially be readily copied, controlled and programmed. This is, in part, made possible because unlike traditional methods for making physical objects that rely on either using moulds or cutting away at raw materials, 3-D printing is described as additive or layered manufacturing process in which layers of material are precisely poured to create structures following instructions from a design file (Lipson and Kurman, 2013, p.13). An example of a project that uses this a variant of this technology is Contour Crafting (CC) — a concept for an automated construction system developed by the USC Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT). The project is described as having the potential to relatively quickly fabricate or 3-D print buildings, with vast improvements in safety and a reduction in waste compared with traditional methods. In this respect the topic of 3-D printing seems to share some of the features of much of the discussion around Smart or Digital Cities, with a strong conviction from advocates that automation and efficiency is the best way to meet the challenges faced by the construction industry, which is described as facing several problems including; “low productivity, poor quality, low safety, and skilled labour shortage” (Khoshnevis et al, 2006, p,305). It is definitely hard to argue with the logic of the CC project when one reads the case studies that outline the possibilities for emergency housing and low income housing, but an issue that is also shared with the Smart/Digital City has to be a concern for what this means for the labour force. In this example it does seem to be the case that the safety of the system is largely achieved by eliminating the need for many humans to be involved in the process.

Khoshnevis, B., Hwang, D., Yao, K. and Yeh, Z., 2006. Mega-scale Fabrication by Contour Crafting. International Journal Industrial and Systems Engineering, [online] Available at: <http://www.livearchitecture.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/khoshnevis_mega-scale-fabrication.pdf> [Accessed 10 May 2014].

Lipson, H. and Kurman, M., 2013. Fabricated: The New World of 3-D Printing. Wiley: New York.


Video interview with CC inventor Dr. Khoshnevis

Race to build first 3-D printed building

Press reports on the CC project

Image source: http://www.contourcrafting.org/

Bespoke Solutions for Living

Neil Gershenfeld (2012) suggests a future where “[d]igital fabrication will allow individuals to design and produce tangible objects on demand, wherever and whenever they need them.” (p 43). A future where we will use personal fabrication processes to “make what you cannot buy” (ibid p49): bespoke solutions to specific needs rather than ‘off the shelf’ solutions, because, “the ‘killer app’ in digital fabrication, as in computing, is personalisation, producing products for a market of one person.” (Ibid p 46).

Nike 3D Football Boots

Nike Vapor Laser Talon: Football’s First 3-D Printed Shoes

We are all different shapes and sizes with individual needs, tastes and appetites, therefore we want products manufactured based on our individuality. Perhaps clothes or footwear printed based on our exact measurements, because “The most compelling possibility of such a new process is customization” (Wilson, 2014, no page)

The medical industry is one field where the individuality of 3D printing solutions is central to the technology. As treatment can be specific to a specific case and again “the biggest advantage is that everything is customizable,” Markus Fromherz, (Xerox’s chief innovation officer in healthcare) as quoted by Forbes.com.

3D Printed Cast

Conceptual project for bespoke casts by Victoria University of Wellington graduate Jake Evill.

Currently 3D printing is offering personal solutions to those who can access it, afford it and know how to use it. Therefore, having an specific, individual solution can be socially exclusive to those without access to the technology, creating a new digital divide? Take as an example, the 3D printed hearing aid: CAMISHA, (‘Computer-Aided-Manufacturing-for-Individual-Shells-for-Hearing-Aids’), by Widex, a specialist hearing aid manufacturer.

3D Printed Hearing Aid

CAMISHA: 3D Printed Hearing Aid

“the premium sound and comfort comes at a premium price. While you can get a conventional hearing aid for a few hundred dollars, the CAMISHA produced models range from about $1,000-$3,000 per device.” (www.3ders.org, 2013, no page)

MIT believe that, “the most sustainable way to bring the deepest results of the digital revolution to developing communities is to enable them to participate in creating their own technological tools for finding solutions to their own problems.” (Mikhak et al, 2002, no page) Their solution is for communities to have Fab Labs, containing collaboratively owned digital fabrication technology, with which community groups can be self-sufficient by starting small manufacturing businesses.

Fab Labs are described as a utopian idea to the small business ideal, by Eric Smally, who says they are “a gleaming vision of a sustainable and prosperous future that also turns the clock back centuries to a time when cities were self-sufficient and people had the means to build what they needed.” (Spectrum.mit.edu, 2014, no page)  Using a Fab Lab communities have the ability to create solutions to local problems rather than having products forced upon them by global businesses.


Gershenfeld N. (2012) How to Make Almost Anything: The Digital Fabrication Revolution Foreign Affairs Vol. 91, No. 6 http://cba.mit.edu/docs/papers/12.09.FA.pdf Accessed 12/05/14

Mikhak B, Lyon C, Gorton T, Gershenfeld N, McEnnis C & Taylor J. (2002) Fab Lab: An Alternative Model of ICT Development http://cba.mit.edu/docs/papers/02.00.mikhak.pdf

Smally E, (2014) Do-it-yourself Manufacturing, Spectrum, MIT Press, Winter 2014, http://spectrum.mit.edu/articles/do-it-yourself-manufacturing/ Accessed 12/05/14

Wilson M. (01/03/2013) Nike Vapor Laser Talon Football’s First 3D Printed Shoes http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672004/nike-vapor-laser-talon-football-s-first-3-d-printed-shoes Accessed 12/05/14

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20130103-3d-printing-helps-develop-the-world-smallest-hearing-aid.html 03/01/2013, Accessed 12/05/14

http://www.forbes.com/sites/xerox/2013/08/22/3-ways-3-d-printing-could-revolutionize-healthcare/ Accessed 12/05/14




The Jetsons. American animated sitcom (1962). Instant replicated food - out of this world!

The Jetsons. (1962). American animated sitcom.  Instant replicated food – out of this world!

Scanning in  2-D has bridged the physical, analogue world to the digital realm. A 3-D scanner crosses the border of the screen. It is only the ink of composite materials that acts as final parameter before the two worlds are ultimately blurred. In the final chapter of Fabricated, Lipson and Kurman (2013) suggest this first episode of control over shape and fabrication of any material has already been achieved. The second is composition of internal structure and the third is control over behaviour of meta-materials.

“…printing integrated, active systems that can sense and react, compute and behave.” (p.266)

The infancy of the technology revisits the former frontier freedom of the internet in its earliest days, when the ideals of open source and web 2.0 technologies promised an egalitarian digital world. Digital information has developed its own political economy. Freedom to share information will challenge not only intellectual property law but also the long tail of manufacturing. Policy makers need to consider the legality and ethical ramifications of instantly accessible drugs, weapons and custom body parts. A recent example is the online posting of the blueprints to manufacture a fully working gun, The Liberator.

If machines are ultimately to recreate themselves, then where does this leave us? A recurring theme in this Digital CIties blog, is the investigation of a significant opportunity for policy makers to consider how technology can improve the future lives for all citizens. With a focus on macro socio-political initiative the potential is to radically transform society, reduce poverty and improve peoples lives. However, if technology companies are obliged to compete in a market, then a more divisive and proprietorial future will further exacerbate inequality and social injustice.


LIPSON, H. & KURMAN, M., (2013). Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing, Indianapolis: John Wiley.

Söderberg, J., & Daoud, A. (2012). Atoms Want to Be Free Too! Expanding the Critique of Intellectual Property to Physical Goods.Triplec (Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation): Open Access Journal For A Global Sustainable Information Society10(1), 66-76.






3D Printing, Control and Creative Industry


From tailoring medical devices to individual bodily responses – to creative flexibility in shapes otherwise impossible to create, Lipson and Kurman (2013:14-15) argue the benefits of 3D printing lie within it’s ability for absolute precision and control. In the future Digital City, no longer will the manufacturing process have to allow for the ‘unpredictability and unruly nature of atoms’, but will be simply reduced to predictable code: 1 or 0 (Lipson & Kurman, 2013:14-15).

“3D printing offers us the promise of control over the physical world. 3D printing gives regular people powerful new tools of design and production. People with modest bank accounts will acquire the same design and manufacturing power that was once the private reserve of professional designers and big manufacturing companies”

(Lipson & Kurman, 2013:11).

A current example of Lipson and Kurman’s (2013) utopian arguments are made by Harvard Graduate Grace Choi when promoting her invention ‘MINK’, a 3D printer which prints make up from any home computer (http://www.businessinsider.com/mink-3d-prints-makeup-2014-5#!Kdzx1).[1] Choi (2014) emphasises that the power balance has shifted away from corporations into the hands of the consumer who now has the flexibility and control to create products or devices at home, for a fraction of the cost, without ‘intermediaries’ (Dini 2013) vastly speeding up the manufacturing process. Similarly, civil engineer Dini (2013) states his goal of 3D printing is to simplify and make affordable manufacturing processes, ensuring anyone can create, making the process accessible and democratic. Though we cannot predict 3D inventions that may become adopted and integrated into the Digital City of the future, we can speculate the possibilities for manufacturing control, precision, in turn empowering consumers and citizens, and encouraging new creativity and visions for future digital city products and services.

[1] We assume digital divides and illiteracies have been somehow ‘overcome’.

MINK – How Choi’s make-up printer works:

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Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 19.31.25

(All images: TechCrunch Disrupt)

“The 21st Century is going to be about bringing the virtual world into closer alignment with the physical one (…) 3D Technology will close the gulf that divides the virtual and physical worlds” (Lipson & Kurman 2013:13-14).

As experienced with the turn from analogue to digital, the unintended consequences that arise through technological innovation must also be considered. In response to Choi’s invention the Huffington Post argue ‘This Makeup Printer Could Destroy The Cosmetics Industry’ (Fieldman, 07/05/14). The possibilities granted by 3D printing further challenge the relationship between the physical and the digital; the amalgamation or dissolving of roles, skills, professions and expertise, cutting out the ‘intermediaries (Dini 2013) and making such technology accessible and affordable for all. This in turn will see a rise in user-generated content (‘pro-sumer’), a blurring of amateur and professional content and the arguable ‘de-valuing’ of such skills, expertise and industry (Hesmondhalgh & Barker 2011). As is the case for many of our creative industries such as film, music and publishing, with the increase in 3D printing innovations, might the same fate take hold of the manufacturing industries?


Greg Petchkovsky is a sculpture experimenting with mixing digital sculpture with real objects, mixing the physical with the digital. http://vimeo.com/43442146



Dahue, R. 2013 ‘The Story of Enrico Dini – The Man Who Prints Houses | 3D Printing’, 3DPrinting.com (Available at: http://3dprinting.com/materials/sand-glue/the-story-of-enrico-dini-the-man-who-prints-houses/, Last Accessed 08/05/14).

Fieldman, Jamie. 07/05/14. ‘This Makeup Printer Could Destroy The Cosmetics Industry’. In Huffington Post: Style. (Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/07/makeup-printer-mink_n_5279546.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063 , Last Accessed 08/05/14).

Hesmondhaigh, D & Barker, S. 2011. Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries (Culture, Economy and the Social) Oxford: Routledge.

Lipson, H. & Kurman, M., 2013. Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing. Indianapolis: John Wile

Shontell, A. 06/05/14. ‘A Harvard Woman Figured Out How To 3D Print Makeup From Any Home Computer, And The Demo Is Mindblowing’ BusinessInsider.com. Includes a step by step guide of how to create your own makeup and use the printer (Accessible at:http://www.businessinsider.com/mink-3d-prints-makeup-2014-5#!Kdzx1, Last Accessed: 08/05/14)

Wainwright, O. 2013. ‘Will 3D-printed houses stand up as architecture?’ TheGuardian.com (Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2013/jan/22/first-3d-printed-house-janjaap-ruijssenaars, Last Accessed: 08/05/14).

Webb, M. And. Wake-Waker, J. 2014. The Man Who Prints Houses’ Documentary Film Trailer (Available At: http://www.themanwhoprintshouses.com/, Last Accessed: 08/05/2014).


Screenshots from TechCrunch Disrupt. 2014.

Sensors, Sustainability and the Quantified Self

Urry and Elliot (2010) discuss a future scenario of the digital city which has used technology to respond to and combat the environmental issues brought about by human-induced global warming. A techno-optimist view widely held by publics, scholars, corporations and governments alike. Authorised by a dominant discourse advocating reliance upon conceptions of evidence and proof, science and technology, rationality and objectivity, we have convinced ourselves a detachment from, and an intelligence, power and technological control over the environment, our surroundings and ourselves (Adams 1998). By extending our human powers through science and technology, through digital sensor monitoring, we believe we can address, undo, and reverse the environmental damage we continue to cause.

Furthermore through individually quantifying behaviors and habits through ‘miniaturised mobilities’, Elliot and Urry argue that this “…enable(s) people to deposit affects, moods and dispositions into techno-objects – storing such emotional and aesthetic aspects of self-experience until they are ‘withdrawn’ for future forms of symbolic elaboration and interpersonal communication” (2010:6). Therefore, the role of sensors can be understood to ‘extend our human powers’ into digitally quantifiable formats. For health care for example, to quantify exercise achievements (miles run, fastest mile, heart rate, calories burned) (see below), calculating calorie consumption, or monitoring abstaining from smoking (see below).

photo 2photo 1

(Image 1: Screenshot Personal Nike Running Application)

(Image 2: A Facebook Friends Post – ANON)

Fors and O’Dell (forthcoming) question the role and use of such sensors, used both by ‘quantified self-ers’, organisations to combat energy waste (see ELLIOT ‘Smart Office’ below), and by businesses (Tesco Clubcard) and governments to monitor demographic behaviors consumer/citizen patters/habits (Oyster), and ask what does all this data collected actually do? Does it help improve the environment, prevent climate change, encourage civic engagement or improve public health? Like the ‘digital networks’ scenario outlined by Urry and Elliot (2010), it is important to question the use in collecting such data, individually or on a mass scale?

“Recent technological innovations for logging, tracking, monitoring and digitally circulating the body calls for further investigations of how it alters the everyday actions, habits, and possibilities for social organisation” (Fors & O’Dell, forthcoming, p.20).

de Lange (2013) argues that in order to achieve action, and change we must take an affective view, one which considers and explores emotions and feelings; “cities must exhibit intense expressivity” ( Thrift in de Lange 2013:3). We can understand how current deployment and use of sensors exemplifies de Lange’s view that ‘smart cities’ remain conceptually ‘stuck’, bounded by limiting parameters of ontological data and information gathering. Taking an epistemological approach however, of tying together spatial, social and mental spheres, prioritising emotions and reflexivity, by considering how we relate to each other and our surroundings, we might better understand the city, and how environmental and individual developments can be actioned and achieved (de Lange 2013:2).

“We must shift attention from technologies that seamlessly blend in with everyday life, towards technologies that move people, and enable them to move others” (de Lange 2013:6).



Adam, B, 1998. ‘Nature Re/constituted and Re/conceptualized: Mapping the scope of industrial traditions of thought’, in Timescapes of Modernity: The Environment and Invisible Hazards. London: Routledge

de Lange, M. 2013. ‘The smart city you love to hate: Exploring the role of affect in hybrid urbanism’. In The Hybrid City II: Subtle rEvolutions, edited by D. Charitos, I. Theona, D. Dragona and H. Rizopoulos. 23-25 May 2013. Athens, Greece.

ELLIOT ‘Smart Office’ 2010. http://vimeo.com/67715975 (Available at: http://www.elliot-project.eu/node/69, Last accessed 4.5.14).

Elliot, A., & Urry, J. 2010. Mobile Lives. Oxford: Routledge.

O’Dell, T & Fors, V. 2014. Body monitoring: on the need to put culture into the quantifying equation. Submitted to Culture Unbound (Available at: http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12683&postid=4195709, Last accessed: 4.5.14)

Oyster ‘Access your data’ (Available at: https://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/privacy-and-cookies/access-your-data, Last Accessed: 7.5.14).

Sensors and sensing

Elliot and Urry (2010) outline a digital networks future as a course of action that could be undertaken to address the challenges posed by climate change, increasing populations and energy descent (Elliot and Urry 2010, p.138). It is a post-crisis or post-shock response comprising of a suite of products and services produced by ‘low carbon’ corporations aimed achieving sustainability. In this context much of what we do, including how we get around or movement in the city is optimised and integrated into a network system enabled by a slew of sensors and technology that do everything from navigation to payment collection (Elliot and Urry 2010, p.147). Andrejevic and Burdon (2015) call this the “sensor society” and they argue that this is not a future prospect, but a world we are already living within. Taking the examples of a smart phone and web browser, they argue that the interactive devices and applications that populate our digital information environment also double as sensors — sensors being anything that automatically captures and records data that can then be transmitted, stored, and analysed. (Andrejevic and Burdon, 2014, p.7)

Drawing on Wood et al (2006) Andrejevic and Burdon (2014, p.5)  argue that the sensor society “reconfigures received categories of privacy, surveillance and sense-making” because unlike traditional forms of surveillance, which may be focused on identifiable persons, the goal of sensor-based forms of surveillance is much more of a comprehensive capture of data about a particular population or environment, from which, more systematic forms of targeting occur (Andrejevic and Burdon, 2014, p.5). This is described as the monitoring of “dimensions of a population, environment or ecosystem or registers of activity” for comparison and for the identification of patterns. Returning to Elliot and Urry’s (2010) digital networks future the pervasiveness of sensing and sensors (both obvious and as a byproduct of our interactions) may well be a useful tool in terms of sustainability, however because (amongst other attributes) data is, as Powell (2014) describes it, “indeterminate” and what it reveals can change depending on how different dimensions are brought together. It is the case that we will increasingly find it difficult to comprehend or predict what our data might reveal about us. (Andrejevic and Burdon, 2014, p16).

Andrejevic, M., and Burdon, M., 2014. Defining the Sensor Society. [online] Available at: <http://cccs.uq.edu.au/sensor-society> [Accessed 3 May 2014].

Elliot, A., and Urry, J., 2010. Mobile Lives. Routledge: Oxon.

Powell, A., 2014. Making data bleed, [Lecture to Information Experience Design symposium]. Royal College of Art. 5 May 2014.


Image source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/07/intel-smart-baby-onesie/

Invisible Cities – visualisation of geo-social data: https://www.schemadesign.com/invisiblecities/

Detection devices: how a ‘sensor society’ quietly takes over

Human Microchips

Affective computing

Emotional Media: Tracking how we feel

De Lange (2013) suggests that to optimise smart city technologies and urban processes we need “to be more sensitive to affect” (no page). Because  “[t]he smart city does not appeal to the emotions and as a result insufficiently engages citizens” (ibid). Added to this Fors and O’Dell (2014) state that, “Techniques for monitoring the body is in a phase of digitalization that makes new ways of measuring the self both possible and accessible” (p3)

Leading me to look for some examples of how technology be used to measure emotion by collecting data in various ways.

1. Mood Panda  uses a mobile app to allow the user to actively track their mood through a regular input of data and can produce graphs, calendars and shared maps of moods.MoodPanda Features

There are various similar services, all of which suggest a link to personal health monitoring, where mood is directly related to mental health and that these apps could “empower millions of people to improve and take control of their health and well-being.” https://www.mood247.com/aboutmood

Fors and O’Dell (2014) are sceptical about the usefulness of body monitoring stating that these technologies “merit a reflection over the degree to which technology guides individuals and in the process deprives them of agency” (p14) suggesting that people may not be impartial when using these technologies, placing too much trust in the data.

2. People often write about their mood on social media, and tag their posts with  geolocative technology. The Hedonometer and Urban Sensing’s ‘Twitter Sentiment Analysis Tests’ attempt to show patterns of emotions using Twitter over time and distributed by place. As “tweets can be regarded as temporally-authentic microscopic instantiations of public mood state.” (Bollen, Pepe and Mao, 2009, no page)

HedonometerHowever, these projects gather data from a limited source i.e. those who have access to particular technology, therefore excluding many from being measured.

3. Surveillance technology with the capability to predict emotion through facial recognition software.Realeyes Facial Tracking

Realeyes is a commercial company who believe that “The more people feel, the more they spend.” They offer a service which tracks people’s facial expressions via webcam allowing businesses to track customer behaviour alongside their emotions. Turning tracking technologies into opportunities for increasing profits, and using webcams like web based cookies because, “emotions can profoundly affect individual behavior and decision-making.” (Bollen, Mao and Zeng 2010, no page)


Bollen J., Pepe A. and Mao H. (2009), Modelling public mood and emotion:Twitter sentiment and socio-economic phenomena. http://arxiv.org/pdf/0911.1583.pdf accessed 04/05/14

Bollen J, Mao H. and Zeng X.J. (2010), Twitter mood predicts the stock market. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1010.3003.pdf accessed 04/05/14

Clifford S and Hardy Q (14/07/13)Attention Shoppers: Store is Tracking Your Cell. The NY TImes, USA http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/business/attention-shopper-stores-are-tracking-your-cell.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

de Lange, M. (2013) The smart city you love to hate: Exploring the role of affect in hybrid urbanism. In The Hybrid City II: Subtle rEvolutions, edited by D. Charitos, I. Theona, D. Dragona and H. Rizopoulos. 23-25 May 2013. Athens, Greece. http://www.uu.nl/staff/MLdeLange/0 accessed 30/04/14

Datoo S. Friday (4/04/14), Smart cities: are you willing to trade privacy for efficiency? The Guardian, UK http://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/apr/04/if-smart-cities-dont-think-about-privacy-citizens-will-refuse-to-accept-change-says-cisco-chief accessed 04/05/2014

O’Dell, T and Fors, V (2014) Body monitoring: on the need to put culture into the quantifying equation. Submitted to Culture Unbound. http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12683&postid=4195709 accessed 30/04/14


Linked to the topic this week is the subject of ‘Big Data’, therefore, I have also included Jonathan Harris’ manifesto of the promises and perils of big data, commissioned by the NY Times

Jonathan Harris Big Data Manifesto

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT: carbon fear and the quantified self

Ubiquitous sensors record and monitor, neural networked algorithms measure and calculate, integrated databases collate and classify. Smart rhetoric of a pre-given near future acts as normalising and facilitates the uncritical, the city becomes a passive canvas for individual needs; no room for conflict or debate to counter vested institutional interests. (deLANGE, 2013). No room for affect, emotion or irrational desire for citizens are objectified as scrutinised data subjects, citizen becomes consumer identified by the narcosis of accumulating brands and experiences. A disembodied cogito; predictable, fragmentised and dependent, upon complex systems of collective coordination and smart technological expertise, augmented by materiality and machine. (ELLIOT, A., & URRY, J., 2010).

A fear of scarcity and terror add to the always on, globally networked ‘liquid life’, miniaturised technologies act as containment for associated rising levels of anxiety and create a dependency on an immersive and virtual mediated reality to compensate for a disenfranchised and distanced life. (ibid. 2010)

The participatory bio-citizen is an early adopter of new forms of openness and disclosure, socially sharing calorific self-loathing, normalising the accumulation of gamified data trails for the quantified self. Agency is left to technology; no room for reflective learning, e-learning is analytical for the social tyranny of others. (O’DELL, T & FORS, V., 2014). Policed by peers and exploited by insurers, government and advertisers as immaterial labour. (EVANS, L. 2013)

ELLIOT, A., & URRY, J., (2010), discuss a ‘mobilities paradigm’ and networked capital in their predictions of a dystopian future based upon an energy and resources scarcity that ranges from a MadMax local warlord scenario to one of social inequity based upon mobility. deLANGE (2013), argues an emotional cartography is essential to engage the citizen around shared issues of concern, this is the form of networked capital that will engender a sense of ownership and grant agency and self-determination. For example citizens able to track their own carbon emissions may encourage economies in mobility and ownership of the local; political agency to challenge technocracy.






de LANGE, Michiel. (2013). The smart city you love to hate: Exploring the role of affect in hybrid urbanism. In The Hybrid City II: Subtle rEvolutions, edited by D. Charitos, I. Theona, D. Dragona and H. Rizopoulos. 23-25 May 2013. Athens, Greece <Available at: http://www.bijt.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/01/Michiel_de_Lange-The-smart-city-you-love-to-hate-exploring-the-role-of-affect_Hybrid_City-Athens_styled_edit-v2.pdf> [Accessed 05may2014]

ELLIOT, A., & URRY, J. (2010). Mobile Lives. Oxford: Routledge.

EVANS, Leighton (2013) How to build a map for nothing: immaterial labour and location based social networking in: Govint, L. and Rasch, M. (ed.s) Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and their alternatives. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures. <Available at: www.networkcultures.org> [Accessed 05may2014]

O’DELL, T & FORS, V (2014) Body monitoring: on the need to put culture into the quantifying equation. Submitted to Culture  Unbound. <Available at: http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12683&postid=4195709> [Accessed 05may2014]




A precursor to googleGlass, Steve Mann pioneered cyborg logging wearable technology called Eyetap in 1980.

Golden Shield, or the Great Firewall of China is a censorship and surveillance project operated by the government of China, operational since Nov2003.

The Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler (1967). Used as a metaphor in Elliot and Urry (2010) as a metaphor to describe the accumulation and integration of data trails. Interestingly Koestler discusses latent self-destruction.

An eMail to join an example of community ownership gamified. Reimagine South Central on Community PlanIt is LIVE! (05may2014). https://communityplanit.org/southcentral/