Constrained Cities

The Project

What happens when echo chambers and filter bubbles manifest themselves in the physical space of the city?

Constrained Cities is an exploration of data-driven separation and segregation in the city of data.

What happens when Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles start producing effects in the physical space of the city? Separation. This is the concept of the Constrained Cities. Launched for the first time at the Post Internet Cities conference in Lisbon.

Read this article to learn more about the Constrained Cities.

[Constrained Cities HERE on e-flux]

echo chambers and filter bubbles in the space of the city

These separations start from physical, cultural, financial space: differences and asymmetries in wealth, culture, origin, gender, religion and beliefs cause the inaccessibility of urban spaces: because they cost too much, because they are scary, intolerant, violent, controlled.

But data and algorithmic power scenarios make these phenomena more powerful and subtle at the same time: the ability to capture and encode the data manifestations of human life enable pervasive control and the creation of boundaries that are cultural, perceptive, financial, emotional.

The concept of the Constrained Cities starts from here.

The project comes under the form of a transmedia simulacrum, an act of reality manufacturing which exaggerates and exposes these mechanisms.

wearable device connects to the wearer’s data (social networks, credit, health), interprets it and generates a customized accessibility map of the city. When the wearers of the device try to enter an area of the city which is algorihmically determined as inaccessible for them, they receive an elecrtical shock, inhibiting access.

video fiction tells the story of of a person living in a near future scenario of the Constrained City, and of its critical implications.

series of large maps show the authors’ inaccessibility maps in various large cities of the world, as calculated through algorithmic processes.

The exhibits will also be walking exhibits. Using multiple copies of the wearable device, visitors will walk in the city. By walking they will experience the tactile experience of the Constrained City, because their wearable will vibrate when they access a place in the city they should not access, according to algorithms.

8 hours long workshops complete the project, allowing participants to learn the theoretical and technical/technological aspects of the concept, and how to build a wearable device for the Constrained City, in all of its hardware and software elements.