Stanza Explores The Body As Emergent Properties Of The Environment


The multimedia artist Stanza has been commissioned and unveiled new artwork  made for the Open Data Institute (ODI) , an independent organisation led by  Gavin Starks , and founded by Professors  Sir Tim Berners-Lee  and  Nigel Shadbolt .  The work  is part  of “Data as Culture”…..and  embraces more open (addressable, structured, accountable, continuous) data. “As data becomes more accessible to artists, as it opens up for use as a raw material, we are seeing more of its integration into works that explore environmental socio-political and economic aspects of society. By utilising data in an experiential way, this selection of works pulls data out of the virtual domain and into our physical world. The exhibition provokes discussion around what open data is, how it informs and affects us, and how we interpret it in a way that is meaningful.”

Body is a sculpture which responds to the emergent properties of the environment in South London where the artist’s wireless sensor network is situated. It represents the changing life and complexity of urban space as a dynamic, kinetic artwork. Real-time environmental data is embodied in Stanza’s life-size sculpture assembled from computer components and acrylic slices of his own physique. In ‘Body 01000010011011110110010001111001′ the urban environment provides a dynamic flickering and clicking sentience to the otherwise inert structure, reflecting the personal level of influence data has on an individual.

The art of gathering environmental data.

This project leverages the real time space using data gathered using my sensor technologies and connecting spaces. The artwork explores new ways of thinking about life, emergence and interaction within public space and how this affects the socialization of space. The project uses environmental monitoring technologies and security based technologies, to question audiences experiences of real time events and create visualizations of life as it unfolds.The interactions of all this data are re-formed and re-contextualised in this real time artwork.

What you see and experience.

This new sculpture captures the changes over time in the environment (city) and represent the changing life and complexity of space as an emergent artwork. Body is a sculpture which responds to the emergent properties of the environment; in this case the location in South London where the artists sensor network is situated for the duration.

“Body” is 2.24 cm tall and needs a floor space. It is made of hundreds of leds, motors, wires and custom made electronics all responding to changes in the data ie temperature, light, pressure, noise, and the sound of the city. (my sensor network). The artwork becomes a manipulation of data, that ‘powers’ all the ‘events’ ‘actions’ and ‘processes’ that you see in the sculpture. The body shape is be based on a 3d scan of the artists body ie (the body in the data space). This 3d scan is used to make the frame the parts (electronics) will be sited on. Body goes beyond simple single user interaction to monitor and survey in real time the whole city and entirely represent the complexities of the real time city as a shifting morphing and complex system.

What you see as well as this body are hundreds of parts that come alive as the data changes and evolves. Its a hybrid work powered by live events. Custom made software gathers data from the artists sensors network via a custom made java proxy server and send it to the sculpture. The mote reader software (in visual basic) sends events to the sculpture. This exist in two forms; in real time and as a local archive data set. (This enables the artwork to always function in the space, ie it has a back up)

Data as art. Process.

The body shape is based on a 3d scan of the artists body made from hi res 3d scan. This scan will used to covert data into model format that will be shaped then laser cut into place. All the electronics will then be embedded into the body.

The art of gathering environmental data.

Bodies as data towers. 





The artwork called Body is installed. It needs a floor space five by five ft. So one can walk around it. It could also be placed against a wall. Ie its free standing and can be moved.

Red main board Arduino .4 main plug board for central CPU. Two power apaptors for central CPU. USB from mac mini to central CPU. Power cable for mac mini. Small monitor. Knee pads. Box cover for mini mac. 15 times 17 by 19 cm computer boards cut to size. 3 times 17 by 19 cm boards with three connectors on perspex. 2 times 17 by 19 cm boards with four connectors on perspex.. Sounder board. Two sounder on one board. Three single sounder. Four two tower fans. One very large fan. Two by two motor towers. Two small fan towers. Six small motors (one double). Three red motors plus others.Four small connector unit. Twelve small fans free standing. Four bigger fans free standing. Five ten led strips. Large red top motors times three.. Five selected length of cable. One red large 17 by 19 cm board of red and white leds. One large 17 by 19 cm board of white leds. 9 by 7.5 cm perspex …two red 2 green 2 yellow twelve large leds. 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. four white with twelve large leds. Relays 19 by 17 board with 4 relays. 9 by 7.5cm Perspex with 2 relays two of them. 14 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. 12 led green. 15 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex .12 led red. 11 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. 12 led white. 14 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. 1matrix leds. 9 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. double strip green leds. 4 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. double square pink leds. 3 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. double square yellow leds. 6 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. double number leds. 2 boards 9 by 7.5 cm perspex. four number leds. Misc blocks rods pads etc



The work is available for sale and for touring from June 2013. Until then it is on exhibition in London.



Environmental DATA

Sensors that are used to collect the data in a network Light, Temperature, Sound, Noise, GPS, Pressure, formatted into XML stream and sent to sculpture.

vEnvironmental DATA



For the past eight years I have been researching wireless sensor networks. I have developed the software and I can place sensor hardware to make these installations. This is the physical entity that one can see and hear to experience the real time and passage of time.

I use 40 motes sensors in a network. (this is technology I already have developed). This is tested, and I have custom built software that gathers data and places the data online via a java proxy server.  This then allows me to make artworks with the data. The data include GPS positions, humidity, noise, temperature, light, of the space and the surrounding environment. The interactions of all this data, controlled via interfaces that can re-form and re-contextualise experiences in real time. Representations of these data sets allow unique understanding of the gallery and the urban environment in real time.

The data is also used to create the visualizations in an open source environment. Because the data is networked other online users can also re- interpret the data and interrogate the various sensors in the network as this is open source as well (via xml streams online). The sensor network takes a constant stream of data which is published onto an online environment where each different interface makes representations of the XML and this is used to make an offline and one line artwork. I have tested the sensors, I have written custom software and the main boards are built. The sensors monitor temperature, sounds, noise, light, vibration, humidity, and GPS. The sensor network takes a constant stream of data which is published onto an online environment where each different interface makes representations of the XML


Stanza at work

About Stanza

Stanza is an internationally recognized artist, who has been exhibiting worldwide since 1984. His artworks have won prestigious painting prizes and ten first prize art awards including:- Vidalife 6.0 First Prize. SeNef Grand Prix. Videobrasil First Prize. Stanzas art has also been rewarded with a prestigious Nesta Dreamtime Award, an Arts Humanities Creative Fellowship and a Clarks bursary award.

His artworks have been exhibited globally with over fifty exhibitions in the last five years including:- Venice Biennale: Victoria Albert Museum : Tate Britain : Mundo Urbano Madrid : New Forest Pavilion Artsway: State Museum, Novorsibirsk. Biennale of Sydney , Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo Mexico : Plymouth Arts Centre: ICA London : Sao Paulo Biennale:

His mediums include; painting, video, prints, generative artworks and installations. Stanza is an expert in arts technology, CCTV, online networks, touch screens, environmental sensors, and interactive artworks. Recurring themes throughout his career include, the urban landscape, surveillance culture and alienation in the city.

Artistic Statement.

I am researching data within cities and the built environment and how this can be represented, visualized and interpreted. Data from security tracking, traffic, and environmental monitoring can all be interpreted as a medium to make artworks. I am investigating new ways of comparing, conceptualizing and then visualizing complex concepts related to the relationship of emergent data and real space in the built environment. Through practice based research, a series of modular experimental artworks are being created to express the possibilities for our data-mediated future.

There are three strands of my working process; these involve collecting the data, visualizing the data, and then displaying the data. The outputs from the online interfaces and online visualizations are now realized as real time dynamic artworks as diverse as installations, and real objects, made out of new display materials back in physical space. In all my work I try to exploit the changing dynamics of city life as a source for creativity and create meaningful artistic metaphors. I utilize new technologies and integrate new media artworks into the public domain as part of this ongoing research into the visualization of city space. In essence I am researching data as a medium for creativity and how meaningful experiences of our cities may result.

© Copyright Stanza 2012

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