Bits of You
NEMO’s studio is a place for (young) adults to experience the future. It’s a laboratory full of accessible and interactive programmes about the scientific and technological developments, and the stage for ‘Bits of You’. In this exhibition, visitors could discover what da-ta traces they leave behind and how what influences their lives.
While visitors lay watching films in relaxing loungers without a care in the world, YIPP was collecting as much data as possible to surprise them with afterwards. This called for a seamless integration of software, hardware, AV, and construction. Thanks to a close collaboration with SFA and Fiction Factory, the software could analyse whether there was someone in the chair based on a sensor, camera footage of visitors’ faces, and depth footage of the space. After watching the film, visitors receive a photo of themselves show-ing what age the algorithm thinks they are, how many friends they brought, and their movement while watching the film.
What were the deliverables?
• Multi-sensory interactive that processes as much user data as possible
• 4 special viewers that trigger video and audio
• 4 interactive touchscreens with background stories and articles. NEMO Kennislink writ-ers can upload the content into the CMS
In a relatively dark space, six semi-transparent pavilions in purple, red, and blue really stand out. The introduction and data timeline leads visitors to pavilion 2, where a big lounge chair with a red button invites them to lie down and accept cookies. After pressing the button, a film starts playing. The visitor is unaware that all kinds of sensors are cur-rently processing as much data as possible from them. Afterwards, they are shocked to learn how much the computer already knows about them.
The next pavilion features four life-size silhouettes, surrounded by four viewers. The viewer shows blocks of information circling that person’s face. The algorithm whispers suggestions based on the information into the visitors’ ears. “You have a higher chance of developing heart arrhythmia. Seek medical advice.”
Not only do algorithms predict and affect the behaviour of these personas, they do this for real people too. On four touchscreens, visitors can browse the stories of ten people and their experiences with data traces. Take Stan, who discovered he had a thyroid disorder thanks to his smartwatch, or Sarah, who was falsely accused of fraud by the tax office. At the end of their visit, visitors leave the exhibition with a more realistic view of data traces which they can act on – or not.
Would you like to know more about Bits of You or have a similar project in mind? Please get in touch with Wouter Verbiest (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Credits: Photography by DigiDaan for NEMO.