[ISEA2011] Paper: Varvara Guljajeva & Mar Canet Sola – The Rhythm of City: Geo-located Social Data as an Artistic Medium


The growing amount of user-generated data is a sign for the society’s dependence on digital networks. Not surprisingly the rapid development of technology is mirrored as well in arts. The virtual environment is an inspiration and as well a working medium for many creative people.

The aim of the paper is to introduce a different approach for the interpretation and usage of geo-located social data and real-time web. To be more precise, the art project described here can be categories as a real-time and mixed reality art piece. We are proposing an innovative and artistic way for applying geo-located social data for describing a city’s pace of life. Our concerns are about the malleability of the digital world to the physical one, and the interpretation of social data for artistic purposes.

The goal of the art project is to metaphorically describe the locations by extracting geo-tagged content and translating it into a rhythm of physical metronome in real time. In short, a metronome represents a city. The installation consists from the 10 modified metronomes whose rhythms correspond to the selected cities’ the digital pace of life of. The audience is given a chance to discover and experience an alternative way of perceiving different locations through a continuous performance of 10 metronomes.

To put in a nutshell, “The Rhythm of City” is an art installation that explains in original way digital geo-located social content and characterizes cities. Even more, the work is an ongoing performance that embraces different locations, digital social data, and physical kinetic motion.

The second part of the paper aims to introduce real-time web as an artistic medium by discussing a number of related artworks.

  • Varvara Guljajeva is a female artist from Estonia, who works with art, people, technology, and materials. Her main focus is on participatory art, interactive installations, and kinetic sculptures. Often Varvara’s works are her reflection on society, environment and cyber-age. She has exhibited her works in a number of international exhibitions and festivals. In addition to that, Varvara was teaching at Interface Cultures in the Art University of Linz, Austria, and has given a several workshops. Varvara has worked with children, youth, and artists who are eager to apply technology for creative purposes. Varvara is a PhD student at the Estonian Art Academy. varvarag.info
  • Mar Canet Sola is a computer game engineer, designer and media artist interested in data visualization, computer games and new media art. Born in Mollet del Valles (Barcelona, Spain,1981). He finished his BA in digital media design. He then spent two years as a fellowship researcher at the ESDI school of design (Barcelona), where he taught and organized workshops on media art and design. In 2006 he went to England to study computer games development at the University Central Lancashire. Mar has worked for more than 2 years as a Creative Engineer in Ars Electronica Futurelab and has also studied at Interface Culture program in the University of Art and Design Linz, Austria. Since 2004, he has been intensely working in artistic and curatorial projects with his art collective Derivart that focuses on the finance art, and is exploring the intersection of finance, art and technology. He has exhibited collaboratively with derivart and independently in many international festivals and museums. mcanet.info/blog

Full text (PDF) p. 1077-1083