Selection of work produced in NLN year one.

posted: 30/07/18

Unopened Space

This project focused on the use of algorithms in relation to the police and public security. I specifically focused on the Predictive Policing system that is used in The Netherlands known as CAS (Criminaliteits Anticipatie Systeem). This system, that is built by the Police, uses data from recorded criminal activity and locational information to predict when and where a crime is likely to occur. The predictions manifest themselves as 125m2 hotspots. Once one of these spaces is considered a hotspot, the police will pay closer attention to it. All sounds great, right?

Whilst in theory the system should work, the outcome is far from perfect. The data used by the police contains all the biases that the police are prone to which includes discrimination against minorities and working class communities. The predictive system only amplifies these biases by solidifying them in a form that seems to represent a totality. This vision of the future is used and trusted by the police yet can lead to increased policing in already over policed areas and feedback loops when crime is found in hotspot areas yet not in others.

This project manifested itself in three pieces; a video, a sympoisum that was organised by all NLN students and a written essay that was published in a book along with other students writing.

The symposium, Violent Patterns, saw five different speakers from a variety of backgrounds speak on the topic of public security under algorithmic control.

The essay, which can be read here is an accompaniment to the video which can be seen below. In the video I used data collected by the police that is used in their predictive system to create a model of The Hague that is covered in a preemptive coating. Using a neural network trained on images of a supposedly high crime landscape, the machine creates a predictive dystopian vision of the city that illustrates the flaws of the predictive system. This video is shows both the process and result of the project.

A Natural Bliss

This project deals with the values that we ascribe to nature and how these same values are used within digital technologies. My starting point for this was the Windows XP default background, Bliss.

I created an archive of images that deal with this starting point. The archive includes images of wallpaper, depictions of Biblical Wilderness, Imperial Landscapes, The Frontier and The Sublime.

The visual essay is an accompanying piece.

Talking in Numbers

As more and more people communicate online, the method and language of communication shifts. Livestreaming platforms such as have become increasingly popular and now attract live audiences of up to 600,000.

To understand this shift it is necessary to return to the origin of the post. In the pre-networked era of publishing here were several consistent paradigms. A solid substrate, one-to-many model, an existence in a certain space and also certain time. However, networked publishing developed an almost opposite set of paradigms. The post was no longer contained on a physical substrate and shifted to a many-to-many model. But most importantly it was disconnected from a space and time.

In the last few years, Livestreaming has been integrated into the biggest social media platforms., the platform I have studied is one of the most popular. I think that Livestreaming has become popular because of its two main features, its live video and its live chat. This allows group of individuals, usually somewhere between 5,000 and 100,000, to gather around a space and talk in chronological time, something that has been lost in other platforms. Looking specifically at Twitch, you can almost see a kind of crowd mentality forming. This crowd mentality is influenced by paradigms that were part of the pre-networked publishing era and exist in today.

This project came together as a performance involving about 15 actors whose phones were connected to a server that sent them live chat messages from the most active chat at that time. The code for the server is available here and a 360-video of a rehersal is available below

More to come soon!