ipmap

Making Visible the Data Spectrum Waving Around Us

This workshop has been held on 4 days at HEAD – Genève, with Master of Arts in Media Design students, and on 1 day with participants of Resonate ’16.

Proposal

« Mapping the Internet poses numerous problems. The challenge is not just that it contains a staggering amount of extremely complex, rapidly-changing information, but also that it exists nowhere and yet operates simultaneously in the physical world. To be more precise: the Internet produces a new type of space time that bears a loose and flexible relationship to the world. The word “space” in “cyberspace” is highly metaphoric and cannot be separated from the activity conducted within it because the activity is what produces this “space”. » — Dirk van Welden in Else/Where: Mapping New Cartographies of Networks and Territories

As we can’t map the Internet, I approach this question from a local/household scale. Indeed, cyberspace exists around us: we are surrounded by electromagnetic waves carrying our data. However, we can’t see (or feel) it, apart from what our screens show, which is in fact just the tip of the iceberg. This workshop aims to show this invisible spectrum of data superimposed onto our physical world, inhabiting our public and privates spaces. To achieve this, this workshop focuses on a well-known domestic object: a wireless router.

Participants first learn to catch and parse raw data from an open wireless access point. From which, each participant produces a map or visualization in order to expose and show the realities of this invisible landscape of ever-changing data waving around us.

Requirements

  • Laptop running OSX, Linux or Windows, with Wireshark and Processing installed;
  • Basic knowledge of computer networks and wireless access points;
  • Intermediate programming skills;
  • Experience with data visualization.