Tag: data

Edinburgh during COVID19

I appreciate that our situation is a total privilege:

  • we can work from home and are used to it
  • we are also used to be 24/24 with each other in a small living environment (a car)
  • we have a nice flat
  • we are not getting tired of each other
  • we are lucky enough to be less than a kilometre from most of the touristic and iconic Edinburgh’s spots, making our rare walks precious moment to enjoy the city free of people

1km radius around the flat

500m from the Castle
650m from the Meadows
800m from Princes Street
600m from St Giles’ Cathedral
1.5km from the bottom of Arthur’s Seat

Because there is not much to say about being at home, I have decided to describe our confinement in data:

  • 35 days since we decided to stay home (few days before the beginning of the official confinement in UK)
  • 7 short walks around the neighbourhood
  • 6 yoga sessions with Adrienne
  • 3 local grocery shopping
  • 1 grocery delivery
  • 1 time getting vegetables with the van from a farm
  • 1 bread
  • 4 cakes
  • 3 apple tarts
  • 2 batches of crepes
  • 1 batch of cookies
  • 3 masks used from our China stock
  • 1 mask lost
  • 15 Disney movies
  • 6 new remake Disney movies
  • 5 studio Gibli movies
  • 6 movies on Mubi
  • 3 series
  • 3 books
  • 3 graphic novels
  • 66 work related emails
  • 1 zoom meeting (I am lucky)
  • 3 online lectures
  • 25 facetime /phone calls with family
  • 6 skype / zoom with friends
  • 5 drawings & paintings
  • 2 sewing projects



We tried to avoid going out of the flat for the 2 first weeks, but as some of you know, the amount of natural light inside is limited, so we were getting a bit depressed + we were starting to have back/neck pain from working from the sofa and the lack of ‘exercise’ – so we decided to do short walks once in a while. To immortalise this situation and the beauty of the empty city, I took my camera with me and shoot the (almost) blank streets, parks and squares.


Design Informatics Pavilion Facelift

Pavilion part of the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Fringe with the Future Play Festival.
Freelance for Design Informatics
Edinburgh, Scotland 2017
In 2016, The Design Informatics Pavilion was designed by Biomorphis, an Edinburgh-based architecture practice led by Pierre Forissier. Interested in how digital technology can be efficiently used to design an affordable modular structure, Biomorphis developed an algorithm to test and generate different cellular divisions to form a self supporting lightweight building envelope. For this 2017 edition I have been employed to give it a facelift, inspired by the 70 years anniversary of the Edinburgh Festivals starting from the launch of the first festivals in 1947 to 2017,  by the Design Informatics research topics and data from Edinburgh.

Pictures of the Pavilion by YUXI LIU

The graphs painted on the pavilion give the local context in which the festivals and Design informatics are taking place: the top line graph represents rainfall in Edinburgh in August in 5 year periods between 1947-2017. The bottom of the pavilion represents the elevations of Edinburgh during a walk through the cities most popular venues so starting on George Street and going to the Castle, the Meadows, The pleasance etc.

Then, the idea was to situate the history of the festivals in an international context, represented by technological breakthrough: each panel of the pavilion represents 5 years, creating a time line where icons (vinyls on acrylic) representing carefully chosen innovations, as well as some of Edinburgh festivals. Moreover, it established a link to Design Informatics, where students are trained and researcher worked on developing tomorrow innovations.

The pavilion become a time travel vessel: the outside is displaying the past of innovations, leading to the inside with the exhibition where you can imagine what the future might look like.

To realise this project, I worked in collaboration with Sigrid Schmeisser, to designed the icons. She realised the exhibition graphics, panels and brochure.


More informations in the report produced along the process.

The Dominoes have been designed as a concept of a tangible interface for biologists to sketch DNA constructs. The interface consists of a series of pieces representing different DNA parts, using Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL).
By manipulating these pieces and snapping them together biologists can sketch DNA sequences. Then, the aim of this project would be to be able be transferred into Genetic Constructor (Autodesk CAD tool for DNA design) to insert the sequences into the sketch blocks and test the validity of their design.
It could then be send to be assembled by Edinburgh Genome Foundry (EGF), a facility at the University of Edinburgh that offers a unique robotic platform to synthesise DNA.

I have conducted a series of interview with biologist to determine what are the needs: how do they currently design DNA, how they would use them, where, when, what symbols or shape they are using most, do they need different kit depending the organism they are working with (yeast, mammalian cells, plants…) …
It also allowed me to discuss their projects to determine what could be potential future needs. I am currently in the process of designing the fist set of prototype to be tested in different labs at the University of Edinburgh.

In addition, during these interviews, we discussed how they would communicate the DNA design process to the general public: how to keep the process simple but accurate and what could be an interesting interaction to understand the principles of synthetic biology. It resulted in another project ‘Tales of Synthetic Biology’ presented Here.

From these interviews I have designed a kit of general blocs and 3 different options for the EMMA kit.

Design – general blocs
  • Use of 5 different colours for the coding sequence (promoter – CDS – terminator) to visualise 1 transcription unit. It will be useful when one transcription unit is will be to be express in the bacteria for the duplication (antibiotic resistance for example) and others will be expressed in the plant/yeast…
  • Blank pieces with directional arrow for projects where the direction is crucial at the early design stage.
  • Larger pieces for Transcription Unit (containing promoter – CDS – terminator) for high level sketch.
  • Small pieces for localisation signal, tag… to annotate some aspect inside a block
  • Two different proposals to visualise the strength of a promoter.
  • Two special set to design sequences for Golden Gate of Gibson assembly, in-order to determine the ending and connecting sequence of the blocks.
  • Each type of block is done with a speci c colour + a symbol to give the maximum visual markers, helping to design a sequence.
Design – EMMA kit

One kit where the colours correspond to type of the blocks, one where they correspond to position of the blocks and finally to the type of the blocks and they are numbered for the position.


I created a poster for James McCallum, who broke the record for riding the North Coast 500 non-stop, back in June. It’s a 516 mile route which takes you round the very north of scotland starting and stopping in Inverness. He broke the record by 7 hours. He completed the ride in under 31 hours spending only just under 29 hours in the saddle, riding through the night, raising over £15000 in the process in aid of thrombosis UK (more about the exploit here).

I have been commissioned to create a print to commemorate this achievement and using the huge amount of data collected along the way (power numbers, speed, gradient’s etc…). Ultimately they wanted “something that looks visually simple, that tells the story of an epic journey but that when you stare a little bit longer there is some hidden detail” Gareth Edwards.

I used the route codified with colour gradient corresponding to the average speed speed, almost like a heat map. Along the route I symbolised the elevation and the time stamps and time of the day, while using grey scale on the route to represent when he rode in darkness. I used the colours scheme from their promotional website Ride for Charlene.



I created this project, in collaboration with PhD Hadi Mehrpouya, as the final piece of my master thesis.

Please have a look at our WEBSITE to have more informations about the project.
Everyday we get bombarded with data and information from all over the world. Often we feel helpless about our abilities to do things while being trapped in the dilemma of knowing the consequences of our consumptions and choices. Playing on these feelings, SAAD, from Afrikaans meaning Seed, is visualising human deaths as a direct and indirect result of the mining industry and conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), used to build smart-phones and computers. The project is constructed on different layers which all recall the idea of being on the edge, the border between life and death, and emphasise the complexity of nothing being either totally positive or negative. SAAD is composed of two complementary installations: a seed dispenser and a plant, visualising deaths due to the mining industry in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It aims to push the reflexion of the responsibility Western consumer users of smartphones and computers have towards these workers. It plays on the feeling of being helpless towards the different issues our societies are facing. The project is constructed on different layers which all recall the idea of being on the edge, the border between life and death, and emphasise the complexity of nothing being either totally positive or negative. It aims to symbolise the complexity of today’s world and the difficulty to position the self and the ethic in it. We choose to focus on the partial perspective we have of our electronic devices nowadays, as it is something most Europeans possessed and use everyday without questioning the impact it can have on other human beings and the natural environment.

Unruly Pitch

Tomorrow is the opening of the exhibition Out Of Play in the National Football Museum in Manchester. One of the works exhibited will be ‘Unruly Pitch’, a collaborative project which I was invited to be part of  with Jen Southern, Prof. Chris Speed and Chris Barker.

This project aimed to track and visualise the movement of six players in the annual Uppies and Downies mass football game in Workington. One of the last remaining football games of its kind, the match is played throughout the town centre in an unpredictable game without rules. Using small GPS devices to track the movement of 6 players (only 5 recorded GPS data), the visualisations will reveal some aspects of the game and in particular the irregularity of the pitch.


The final project is composed of 3 different pieces. A printed ‘map’, a replica of the ball engraved with the tracks, and a video drawing the game dynamically with footage in the background. Each of the three pieces convey a different dimension of the game. The map, recalling survey maps, is intend to describe the ‘pitch’. It is a visualisation of the ‘objective data’. Moreover, it gives a reflection of the game from the players internal point of view thanks to the ‘hidden’ interview based text. The video gives an immersive and dynamic vision of the action. However it is also an outside point a view as it is filmed not by a player but a spectator. The ball represents the symbolic aspect of the game, perceived as the ‘Graal’ by the players.

This game could be described as a tactical, organized chaos. Everyone knows in which team everyone they are, even if there is no visual distinction; they have ‘secret’ tactics (like key words, touch codes…) to communicate. It is all about the group and how they are going to move together to get the ball on one or the other side of the town. Jen asked an interesting question regarding this during one of our discussions: how is moving together different to moving individually? The tools used were GPS watches and the result is individual tracks; they are ‘so much about the individual and often visualised as an individual trajectory’ (Jen’s words). What we wanted to convey and study with this work wasn’t the individual interpretation of GPS signals, but how they work in relation to each other. There is something quite unusual with this game as it is both about groups and individuals – as they all play for the same goal but at the end only one player can throw the ball and can keep it as memory of the victory.

Finally another interesting element of the game we talked about during the project was the evolution of the pitch in relation with the modification of the geography of the town and how it modified the game. Some fields are now a construction site, buildings have been demolished or constructed… And because the town, or even further (as there is no rule and no boundaries defined) can be used by the players with no limits. A parallel study of the evolution of the game and the geography of the town could be very interesting.

Here are the 3 elements of the final work. Soon the pictures of the exhibition itself.


FINAL copy


The leaking hourglass

I started thinking about our survival needs, from what came the important question: why are we not more careful on what we do on the planet, when it is what offer us the possibility to live?

Our survival needs are:
– nutriment
– oxygen
– water
– appropriate atmospheric pressure

We can survive:
– 3 min without air
– 3 hours without a regulated body temperature
– 3 days without water
– 3 weeks without food

The one I am the most interested in is the water. Maybe because it is my favourite element to be in and my favourite drink 🙂
Our body is composed between 60% and 80% of water. It (water) provides the environment necessary for life.

A sandglass is meant to give the time like it is indefinite, but what if it was leaking ?

I am thinking to make one with water. The amount of water inside would be equivalent on the volume available on earth/per person, and would leak in accordance of the diminishing of the resource.


Data to sound & New turntable

Python doing music

Tania asked her boyfriend Aldo to help us with transforming our raw sound into something more musical. He found a great music synthesizer made in python by a guy called Martin C. Doege
He used a 3D model file we gave him: .stl file to .wav (via importing raw data in Audacity).

This is the original sound file:

What he did is (quote him form his blog): “the basic idea was to read the wav file, get the data, which is an array of numbers with lots of precision. That particular wav file (the one Tania gave me), it ranges from -1 to 1, and it was 1519616 on length. So, the idea was to map those values, and the changed them to notes, and then create a synthesizer sound file from it. Of course there is more music science behind it, but me, being not a music scientist I fixed the octaves, and with that the time changed…”

It gives this file:

The code is this:
Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 16.17.21
We also received the first of the 4 turntables we will use for our installation. It is working perfectly and we have now to find some speakers in order to make the installation working.

Berlin Transmediale 2015

We spend with my master class of design informatics a week in Berlin attending the Transmediale festival. What do the futures of work, play and life look like through the black mirror of data? How will our quantified lives unfold? transmediale 2015 looks at how we make sense of a culture dependent on measurement and automation procedures, and how to act with autonomy within such a culture.

It has been a very inspiring week. I will share the notes I took during the festival as well as some projects which were the most inspiring for me or innovative.

This was our plan with Clément for the 3 days:

  • 1 opening ceremony
  • 1 concert @ Berghain
  • 1 screening
  • 5 conferences
  • 4 performances
  • 3 exhibitions



Notes and reflections


Keynote capture all_work
Judy Wacjcman
Puting life to work
Work is done in time
Capitalism: work in a periode of time = certain amout of money
Comercilisation of emotion
How we manage our time in today work with digital technilogy
Boudaries between work, personal life, sleep…
New technology promise to free our time ( do things simultaneously)
Technology changed the character of time
Synchronised activity  in unsynchronised society
Emails symbolic of work stress
Quality of life
Labour Technology and time


Play as a commons practical utopias and p2p futures
Ruth Catlow
Play Your Place – Creation of good life is the buisness of us all
Further field – Public space for exhibition
Platforn game good to think at Action and consequence
Make your game with your drawings
Make the world together – Play the web we want
Oposit to gamification
Back to the collective, is this really?
Ludic turn (used by neoliberal)
Open Source is a meritocracy, hacker is a benevolent dictator
Benefit still : fast non hierarchical production
PlayYourPlace : Game platform on Github
Gamification is a thin / dry layer over the world. Marketing tool
Stuck within templates stopped asking the right question
Higher potential, higher risk and reward to be be awarded by real world utopian games
When you play you leave/ are freed from pattern of behaviour
Free to act as you wish

Fascination for utopia – Utopian thinking
Alternative way of interaction – Game to make topic accessible
Art design and education – Novel senario even absurde
i am what i am
ykon game
Play act as aproach the world as if…. Reamigine
Have freedom to imagine how it could be different
It is not only possibility it is also danger when you propose alternative
Look for solutiom or provocation
Looking at solution can close debate
You can change your atitude
Ludification of culture: never before have people played as much as they do today
Partial utopia: realistic alternative possibility
DIWO do it with others


Keynote Capture All_Life
Byung-Chul Han
What is transparency – Transparency positive meaning before
New parendim
Fredom freewill autonomy
Power of the rule of like “smart power” is that it doesn’t impose, force itself on the user
It pleases, creating dependence
It’s hard to identify because it “just happens”

Discovery of AdNauseam
As online advertising is becoming more automatic, universal and unsanctioned, AdNauseam works to complete the cycle by automating all ad-clicks universally and blindly on behalf of the target audience. Working in coordination with Ad Block Plus, AdNauseam quietly clicks every blocked ad, registering a visit on the ad networks databases. As the data gathered shows an omnivorous click-stream, user profiling, targeting and surveillance becomes futile.

Appropriate and Accelerate – Art Under Algorithmic Pressure

Jennifer Lyn Morone
Jennifer Lyn Morone is an American born natural person who incorporated her identity by founding Jennifer Lyn Morone™Inc in 2014 during her time as an MA student at the Royal College of Art. Since then Jennifer Lyn Morone’s mission is to establish the value of an individual in a data-driven economy and Late Capitalist society, while investigating and exposing issues of privacy, transparency, intellectual property, corporate governance, and the enabling political and legal systems.



Jonas Lund (1984, Sweden) creates paintings, sculpture, photography and websites that incorporate data from his studies of art world trends and behaviour.
Very interesting talk when he question the way the art is valued.
For Curate This he use his curatorial rank algorithm to determine what works from the collection of multiples and editions of Galerie van Gelder would generate the biggest positive impact on his curatorial rank. Lund supplied Willers with detailed analysis on all the works in the collections and what influence they would have on his curatorial rank. Willers then consulted the list and made his final selection of works for the exhibition.




Another work he presented was Studio Practice. On his web site it is presented like that : he transformed the gallery into an art production line by hiring four assistants who will work full time during the gallery’s open hours throughout the run of his exhibition. Their task is to produce work inspired by the guidelines set out in a 300 page book that Lund created expressly for them. Once a work has been completed, it will be reviewed online by an advisory board consisting of artists, art advisors, gallerists and collectors. The board will assess the work so that Lund can better decide whether the work should be signed or destroyed. The entire process will be publicly accessible in the gallery space and on a dedicated website (studio-practice.biz). The website will include live footage of the gallery, assessments of the advisory board as well as Lund’s final decision and comments regarding specific works.



Clément appeared every two lines on the Stakhanov installation… quite weird and scary.

Presentation Stakhanov is the BigData Oracle of the new era. In the era of Data, Information and Knowledge, Stakhanov is the expression of our new global data-religion. Stakhanov continuously harvests social networks for information and data, making connections, assumptions, correlations, using them to predict the future. Line-by-line, it emits its verdicts about what will be and that which won’t. This is the Word, coming from the Data-Above, in The Cloud. A playful neo-religious data-invasion of privacy, an exploration in false-hopes and in the ingenuity of contemporary determinism.


Erica Scourti – Body Scan
First I have been very impressed by her performance during the opening ceremony, then by her work in the exhibition space. I can’t really explained why I really like her work… I just found quite fascinating and very well executed. It must ask a lot of patience and hard work to perform like that.
Presentation A snapshot of mediated intimacy, Body Scan records through screenshots a process of photographing different parts of the artist’s body with an iphone similar image app that identifies visual information and links it to online data. At times assuming the instructive voice of a body scan meditation, the accompanying voiceover draws on the search results to convey relational uncertainties and sexual energies entangled with commodity descriptions. A game alone and between lovers turns skins into readable interfaces full of the potential for miscommunication, and signals connections between embodied, private experience and public, commercial data.


Silvio Lorusso & Sebastian Schmieg – Networked Optimization
Helping to realise how little we are actually reading, or in general what percent of information we memorise or assimilate. Simple great idea of data visualisation.


Presentation Networked Optimization is a series of three crowdsourced versions of popular self-help books. Each book contains the full text, which is however invisible, because it is set in white on a white background. The only text that remains readable consists of the so-called “popular highlights” – the passages that were underlined by many Kindle users – together with the amount of highlighters. Each time a passage is underlined, it is automatically stored in Amazon’s data centers.





Time and Motion: Redefining Working Life 

Oliver Walker – One Euro
Stunning idea to represent inequality, labour, value…

Presentation One Euro is a six channel video installation, with each channel depicting one person working. Each video lasts as long as it takes the person depicted to earn one Euro. The films vary in length from well over an hour for low paid agricultural workers; to their slightly higher paid counterparts in industry; via those on middle income wages; down to one minute, and with one film little over a second long. The films do not offer a narrative, but rather quite detached observations of people at work. It is not intended as a didactic essay on wage inequality, though it invites reflection on these staggering inequalities, and this political position is ultimately not left ambiguous. Whilst we often encounter information about inequality presented through text or graphics, here time is employed, making direct comparison more difficult. Ultimately the people on the screens are simply taking part in their everyday lives, and we see six people on six screens, side by side.


Ellie Harrison – Timelines
Beautifull visual of our daily routine. Very inspiring.

Presentation For almost five years Ellie Harrison documented and recorded information about nearly every aspect of her daily routine as part of her artistic practice. These laborious, demanding and introverted processes grew ever more extreme until she devised the ultimate challenge in 2006 for Timelines – to attempt to document everything she did, 24 hours a day, for four weeks. The Timelines project was motivated by Ellie’s overwhelming feeling that she was ‘always at work’, it was to be an empirical study – monitoring exactly where all her time was going – to find out whether this was indeed true. What had seemed like a simple proposition quickly became an all-consuming ritual in which she was forced to take on the dual role of ‘observer’ and ‘observed’. On the first day she confessed that ‘It was horrible feeling so trapped – I couldn’t do anything without generating and accumulating data’, and so she rationalised the experiment by categorising her time into 17 possible activities such as ‘art practice’, ‘domestic work’ or ‘leisure’. Each day the data was transferred onto an expansive spreadsheet. By the end of the four weeks it contained 2,297 entries, which were then transposed into a series of 28 colour-coded timelines.


Tuur Van Balen & Revital Cohen – 75 Watt
Intriguing at first, then beautiful and after reading the explanation it all made sense.


Presentation A product is designed especially to be made in China. The object’s only function is to choreograph a dance performed by the labourers manufacturing it. The work seeks to explore the nature of mass-manufacturing products on various scales; from the geo-political context of hyper-fragmented labour to the bio-political condition of the human body on the assembly line. Engineering logic has reduced the factory labourer to a man-machine, through scientific management of every single movement. By shifting the purpose of the labourer’s actions from the efficient production of objects to the performance of choreographed acts, mechanical movement is reinterpreted into dance. What is the value of this artefact that only exists to support the performance of its own creation? And as the product dictates the movement, does it become the subject, rendering the worker the object? The assembly/dance took place in Zhongshan, China between 10-19 March 2013 and resulted in 40 objects and a film documenting the choreography of their assembly.




The Pirate Cinema
It was great. A bit overwhelming in term of chaotic sounds but the idea is brilliant and well executed.

Presentation The hidden activity and geography of real-time peer-to-peer file sharing via BitTorrent is revealed in The Pirate Cinema, a live performance by Nicolas Maigret and Brendan Howell. In their monitoring room, omnipresent telecommunications surveillance gains a global face, as the artists plunder the core of restless activity online, revealing how visual media is consumed and disseminated across the globe. Each act of this live work produces an arbitrary mash-up of the BitTorrent files being exchanged, in real time, in a specific media category, including music, audio books, movies, porn, documentaries, video games and more. These fragmentary contents in transit are browsed by the artist, transforming BitTorrent network users (unknown to them) into contributors to the audio-visual composition that is The Pirate Cinema.

Citation City
It was AMAZING. An incredible work of very clever references. The sound track mixing live was perfect and same full of references. I would watch it again , because I am sure that there is some great moment you miss when you look at it once. I recommended ++++.

Presentation: A world premiere of the new audovisual performance of renowned collage artist People Like Us (Vicki Bennett). The project is a further development of the artist’s database approach to cinema, deconstructing cinematic clichés and representations into unique associative and playful narratives. Citation City sources, collage and edits 300 major feature films where content is either filmed or set in London – creating a story within a story, of the film world, living its life, through extraordinary times of change, to see what happens when these multiple narratives are combined… what will the story tell us that one story alone could never tell? Inspired by The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin, this audiovisual performance is created from 1000s of clippings of text and visual media, collaged using a system of “convolutes”, collated around subjects of key motifs, historical figures, social types, cultural objects from the time. By gathering and assembling such groups of similar yet unrelated, he revealed a hidden, magical encyclopaedia of affinities, a massive and labyrinthine architecture of a collective dream city. In the live performance a series of story lines (convolutes) sit side by side with a soundtrack sourced both from the movie content, as well as new sample compositions thematically related to the visual content. 

Robin Fox & Atom TM “Double Vision”
It was like seeing the sound in 3D infront of our eyes. Magical. The ceiling was transformed into a sky thanks to the laser and the smoke.

Interview of Robin Fox & Atom TM HERE