- titleCloud Factory
- year 2014
- typeInteractive installation
- contextBi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture
- collaborationThe New Institute and The Mobile City
In Cloud Factory, we see huge amounts of data floating through the formerly industrial spaces of the Shekou Glass Factory in Shenzhen. First, the bits and pieces of information representing urban life in Shenzhen move chaotically across the walls, resembling the multifaceted dynamism of urban life itself. Yet, just as in cities the versatile actions of millions of individuals eventually coalesce into recognizable patterns and rhythms that make urban life manageable, every now and then, the floating data particles in Cloud Factory blend into a coherent configuration.
The maps that result in these moments of crystallization are not just meant to be pretty pictures. They can be understood as ‘action maps', offering a glimpse of opportunities for redevelopment that are consonant with local social and economic trends. Many of these conditions might be invisible to the human eye, and even elude the sensory capacity of scientific and bureaucratic measuring and classification instruments. They only become visible once we tap into the dynamic data streams that ordinary citizens and institutions alike leave often unconsciously behind when they surf, tweet, track, record, check-in, like, buy, call, receive, ping, store, connect, search, build, plan, invite or play.
There is an interesting link between this new production of value and the old industrial one that once reined the Shekou glass factory site. Both ‘big data' and big empty factories are remainders, by-products and loose-ends of large scale processes of economic production and urban life. In the case of big data, this “waste” turns out to be a treasure of knowledge and open source of valuable insights and creation.
Cloud Factory explores this new way of value creation by enabling the public to interactively play around with the data in search of new insights. It gives us a peak into a not so distant future, in which we can interface with the Web in new ways - not only being able to consume endless lists of content and supply simple feedback - but actively use its peripherals to tap into its knowledge and empower us to be more conscientious and creative.