ARTIST STATEMENT

We no longer experience cities exclusively  as material realities. With the rise of geolocation technology, geographical spaces have expanded to the digital space. Which raises the question,  how do we inhabit this hybrid spaces. Our perception of what surrounds us is changing and with it urban dynamics. Maps are very useful tool to visualize this things.

The idea to map digital activity, in order to better understand public space, started with my architectural final project. I wanted to design a public space based on the information provided by users of social networks. As I worked, I discovered that the material and the digital city were in constant correlation and that their interaction created a complex idea of place.

To study this ideas I choose a case study: the town of Macuto, because the university was testing public space proposals for its reconstruction. I started by gathering thousands of photographs posted on Instagram, which were georeferenced to this a particular place. This images were then mapped according lo location and color to create a tridimensional display, which represented landscape using data.

As a result of this work, I was invited to participate at a residency in Sao Paulo (PIVO). There, I studied the possibility of creating a landscape from data at the scale a megalopolis. Nevertheless, the contents I drew from Instagram in Brazil were not as diverse as I expected. Over and over again, the same pictures were being shot and published, which led to a project where I created a series sounds from data patterns.

Using georeferences we can now map digital activity on specific places. Moreover, contents published by users on social media generate maps which are in constant flux. As a result, users create millions of images, videos, text, etc, over time; which after a while is pushed down the timeline by new content. Nevertheless, this content is never erased, which makes social networks into a repository of collective memory. This repository can always be dug in to create a digital cartography of the city, an image of a place, but what kind of image?

As we further and further document our lives we also construct an image of the place we inhabit, like small fragments of a bigger jigsaw puzzle. My work studies the possibility of visualizing digitally constructed places as result of contents posted on social media, and how they create invisible landscapes, which are intertwined with geography.