Data as part of our public space..

2016-01-28 14.25.01Image: Internet Machine Timo Arnell Big Bang Data Exhibition 2016

To give a sense of how digital ‘space’ has been ‘challenged and re-defined by media (pg 5 Berry et al 2013) Timo Arnell’s vast installation depicting a data processing plant whirring away with huge quantities of data within it is a good example. This relatively (for the impact it has) small physical space that is imbedded with vast amounts of data from probably hundreds of thousands of peoples lives, illustrates the physical reality of the way in which data is being processed. Arnell talks about how viewing the ‘materiality of these cold, hard digital spaces refutes the idea that they are intangible’. The abstract space of data, code and software becomes real.

The ‘profound influence of software’ (Kitchin and Dodge, 2011:x) and the reality of how data is impacting on our lives is no more apparent than in our digital cities – living, breathing examples of how we are shaped by software and algorithms. The once private domestic space of our lives has now become public, creating a continuous public space in our cities filled with our multitude of digital devices.

The public digital space our cities now inhabit blends into one with our once domestic space. With our ‘boundariless media’ Berry et all talk about how public space functions as a connection between the virtual and the real, between public and private, between work and leisure. Our private space has definitely become public with the access to our data and this can make us and our smart cities vulnerable. Smart cities are built on software and if this software becomes hacked or damaged the city would stop, no traffic control, no public transportation, no city management systems, no smart grids,… (Priya Anand 2016)

With the private becoming public the vulnerabilities of our smart cities are all to apparent, all that vital data that supports us and our cities enormous infrastructures whirring away in these warehouse like spaces.


Berry, C., Harbord, J. & Moore, R.O., 2013. Public space, media space, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: 1-15 (Introduction). Berry et al (2013) public space, media space

Kitchin, R. & Dodge, M., 2011. Code/space software and everyday life, Cambridge, Mass.: MITPress: ix-xi (Preface) 3-22 (Introduction), 23-44 (Chapter 2: The Nature of Software

Priya Anand January 2016 faces-from-cyber-attackers-2016-01-04

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