The project Welcome to My Living Lab consists of interventions in public spaces. The first part took place in Amsterdam in December 2017.
The project reacts to the rise of the 'Living Lab'. It's important for the community to be involved in these developments. Now Living Labs tend to be black boxes: no one knows exactly which data are being collected and what happens with these data. Proper regulation is missing and supervision is limited, which makes that corporations have free reign too often.
The rise of Living Labs in public spaces stands not by itself and can be seen in the perspective of states and corporations taking possession of the streets. It's time to raise the question: to whom does our public space belong?
Read more on the project website https://www.mylivinglab.nl
Living Labs are domains where the goverment, together with the industry and scientists, conduct experiments on citizens. Sometimes this happens in private homes, but usually it concerns a test area the size of a street, a district or a complete city.
In an area that has been designated as a Living Lab large amounts of data about people are collected. This often happens without informing them or asking their permission. Think about the collection of video and audio recordings, social media posts and wifi-tracking of your mobile phone. These data are linked to each other and analyzed. Subsequently there are interventions to try to influence people's behaviour.
The Living Lab is a relatively new phenomenon related to the creation of smart cities, where data and smart technology increasingly influence the daily life. In the Netherlands several big projects are running, without being known. If you live in or visit one of the larger cities there is a big chance that you unwittingly are part of a Living Lab.
Local governments in the Netherlands as well as the police increasingly use big electronic signs in the streets to communicate with citizens.
These signs, usually placed alsongside the road to provide information about detours, became popular for crowd control at big public events in the city. And now they are also used to send out warnings, security calls and other police reports. A pretty intrusive way to get your message out there and influence people in public space.
The installation Welcome to My Living Lab #001 (2017) at Leidseplein in Amsterdam consisted of an identical screen that I programmed.
An official message by the government to warn against white heroin being sold as cocaine
'Do not give muggers a chance'
'Do not poison yourself with carbon monoxide'
'For information that leads to prosecution of the perpetrator'