More Human Than Human

Submitted by HEAVY

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Client: City of Moscow

Location: Moscow, Russia

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $25,000

Project Team

Artist

BC Biermann

HEAVY

Artist

Chris Nunes

HEAVY

Overview

With the rise of ever-present high-powered mobile devices, social media, and artificial intelligence, our own personal data has become a digital avatar replacing us online in a way that is potentially “more human than human” [MHTH] – carrying a higher degree of (perceived) value than our physical presence. Heavy’s work critically investigates this dilemma by using cultural datasets from the City of Moscow’s Open Data Portal to construct a new version of the self.

Goals

The goal of the sponsoring organization was to have a US artistic vision present at the Moscow Urban Forum. Specifically, this artistic vision needed to incorporate cutting edge technologies that are being integrated into modern cities. HEAVY's work with augmented reality piqued everyone's interest. Working with the event team, we designed artwork that incorporated data from Moscow's new Open Data Portal - a valuable connected city asset that Moscow wished to highlight at the event.

Process

Specifically, the latitude and longitude of all of the theaters, exhibition halls, and museums in Moscow were digitally interconnected with a 3D lattice and laid over a wireframe skull mesh. These datasets were chosen because they are representative of the Arts and Humanities, core concepts that have traditionally signified the cultural human self as expressed into broader society. However, these traditional cultural communal sites have been increasingly supplanted by impersonalized online activities and our “selves” represented not by our active presence at these cultural institutions, but rather by our accumulated data.

Additional Information

The work explored a brief narrative driven by Pink Floyd's The Wall, where mother and son discuss trust and government. The end of the experience connected Moscovites with personal data resources like a VPN, password manager, and encrypted chat tools, which they could download directly from inside the experience to their mobile phones.