Art and the Internet of Things

26/08/2009 - 14:35

Wireless is increasingly pulling in all kinds of applications, platforms, services and things (rfid) into networks. Many people communicate through mobiles, blackberries, digital organizers, palmtops. Cars become information spaces with navigational systems and consoles like Nintendo DS have wireless capacities and get linux kernels installed.We are witnessing a move towards pervasive computing and disappearing technologies in intelligent clothing (wearables), smart environments (knowing where and who we are), pervasive games, and we will see doors opening for some and closing to others. Mimickry and camouflage will become part of application design.

Ipods and Iphones will show colors and produce sounds corresponding with your surroundings. Council will help to develop theories, concepts, scenarios and prototypes for this wireless world, beyond the product, beyond the individual user, to social and culturally empowering experiences for larger groups of people. As we increasingly live in a world where everything is connected, designing stand alone things for stand alone people is no longer an option. Things are connected, and through these things, people are always part of some group, increasingly more online and in the real world as well, as Yocai Benkler shows in his Wealth of Networks.

The move from the Internet to The Internet of Things is official now,with the ITU claiming that “it seems that we are standing on the brink of a new computing and communication era, one that will radically transform our corporate, community, and personal spheres.” On june 28 the European Commission has published its official plan of action for the Internet of Things. RFID ( radio frequency identification) may become a 3 billion dollar business by 2010, according to Gardner. But in order to do that, it needs scenarios that benefit all stakeholders and prototypes that embody different levels of privacies, securities and solidarities.

Katherine Moriwaki’s handbag, (Inside/Outside) is a keywork. It uses as a form a conventional daily object, a handbag. This means that we deal in very analog objects and notions of design, expertise, skill, fashion apply. Yet this particular handbag has a layer of digital connectivity added to it.

This means we deal with ad hoc networks, environmental sensors and smart textiles. And what does it do? Well, it allows you to measure pollution in your street and neighbourhood. As Katherine writes: “Locally sensitive and contextually relevant data can be used by the inhabitants of a community to police and monitor their own neighborhoods and public spaces. This "local knowledge" is a very powerful factor in allowing for personal identification and connection with the environment, and can lead to greater emotional investment and connection with public space.

Through the process of collection, reflection, and action, personally invested environmental monitoring can provide alternative views of the city, and redirect behavior within the urban zone.”