Sentient City Survival Kit (2010)

Sentient City Survival Kit explores the social, cultural and political implications of ubiquitous computing for urban environments. The project consists of a collection of artifacts, spaces and media for survival in the near-future sentient city.

As computing leaves the desktop and spills out onto the sidewalks, streets and public spaces of the city, information processing becomes embedded in and distributed throughout the material fabric of everyday urban space. Pervasive/ubiquitous computing evangelists herald a coming age of urban information systems capable of sensing and responding to the events and activities transpiring around them. Imbued with the capacity to remember, correlate and anticipate, this “sentient” city is envisioned as being capable of reflexively monitoring our behaviour within it and becoming an active agent in the organisation of our daily lives.

Few may quibble about “smart” traffic light control systems that more efficiently manage the ebbs and flows of trucks, cars and buses on our city streets. Some may be irritated when discount coupons for their favourite espresso drink are beamed to their mobile phone as they pass by Starbucks. Many are likely to protest when they are denied passage through a subway turnstile because the system “senses” that their purchasing habits, mobility patterns and current galvanic skin response (GSR) reading happens to match the profile of a terrorist.

The project aims to raise awareness of the implications for privacy, autonomy, trust and serendipity in this highly observant, ever-more efficient and over-coded city.

Custom electronics and software, various materials A project of Creative Capital. It is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University at Buffalo

Supported by: Netlab @ Studio-X, studio for experimental design and research run by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University

http://survival.sentientcity.net

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard (USA) is an artist, architect and researcher whose work addresses new social spaces and signifying structures of contemporary network cultures.

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2010
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2010

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