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Critical Network Mapping, Burak Arikan talk at Eyeo2014, Minneapolis


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This presentation is given at Eyeo festival in Minneapolis, June 2014. It covers the ideas on creative and critical use of complex networks with examples from Burak Arikan's recent art work, and discuss how you can use networks as a medium.

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Critical Network Mapping, Burak Arikan talk at Eyeo2014, Minneapolis

  1. 1. Critical Network Mapping Burak Arıkan Photograph taken from Abbasaga Park Forum, Istanbul, Turkey. June 2013 1 Today, I will talk about the creative and critical use of complex networks with examples from my recent work, and discuss how you can use networks as a medium. I want to start, briefly with the ways of undersanding complexity.
  2. 2. Understanding complex systems Internet (2003), Opte Project 2 A complex system is composed of many independent parts interconnected to each other. For example, interactions between genes, our neural system, telecommunication systems, activity in markets and so on. If we want to understand a complex system, we first need a map of its wiring diagram, which is composed of nodes and links, and make a network form. is a typical map of the internet from 2003, that resembles a star constellation...
  3. 3. 3 Before this image, Internet was resembling a circuitry. It was an interconnected network of networks, separated by geography, with closed military networks and so on.
  4. 4. 4 Even before that, in the 80’s, computer networks were connecting only certain centers, from coast to coast in US.
  5. 5. 5 In the 70’s, only few academic and military centers were interconnected, where room size computers messaging to each other.
  6. 6. 6 In 1969, the ARPA network started with only four centers. Here is the original back of a napkin sketch. A network diagram is both a representation and a tool to construct new realities, that are yet to come. From a sketch of a computer network to the internet, we engage a diagram. "The diagrammatic or abstract machine does not function to represent, even something real, but rather constructs a real that is yet to come, a new type of reality. (Deleuze and Guattari 1988: 142)." * Image: December 5, 1969—the U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) connected four computer network nodes at the University of California, Los Angeles, (U.C.L.A.), the Stanford Research Institute (S.R.I.) in Menlo Park, Calif., U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Utah. The "Sigma 7" note next to the circle depicting the UCLA node refers to the Sigma 7 computer at UCLA's Network Measurement Center that Vint Cerf connected to ARPANET.
  7. 7. Al Pacino Henry Silva Michelle Pfieffer Marlon Brando Doğuş Holding NTV STAR TV Garanti Bank 7 This brings us to the crucial factor that, the network map offers a "common language", that is both visual and mathematical. And we can use it, to study systems that may differ in their nature, appearance, or scope. For example, three rather different systems here, have exactly the same network diagram: 1) computers sending data to each other, 2) film actors connected through taking roles in the same movies, 3) organizations connected through partnerships.
  8. 8. Al Pacino Henry Silva Michelle Pfieffer Marlon Brando Doğuş Holding NTV STAR TV Garanti Bank 8 While the nature of the nodes and the links differs widely, each network has the same graph representation, consisting of 4 nodes 4 links. We can use this simple method to begin studying a variety of complex systems.
  9. 9. Why do networks matter today? 9 And now, let us look at why do networks matter today, although they existed in every society in the history?
  10. 10. 10 ~3000 years ago, the Mediterranean trade ships, the great phoenicians, formed the trade routes between the harbour towns.
  11. 11. 11 Today, at the same geography... submarine cables are enabling a global communication system.
  12. 12. 12 Networks matter today, because electronic and software based communication systems made networks measurable. And, only in this day and age networks are able to reach a global scale and infiltrate into every part of our life. In fact, we all experience the network effect, from email to ecommerce, from social networking to banking, from telecommunication to transportation. We all acknowledged the fact that the world is complex more than ever. And, at the same time it feels both flat (reach anyone any time), and chaotic (inundated with information from all directions)... sometimes people are opportunistic (global good), sometimes pessimistic (we are all under surveillance) In such an antagonistic world, the question is: Where does power reside and circulate?
  13. 13. Jacob Levy Moreno, Who Shall Survive, 1934 13 Maybe the answer lies in the practice of measuring... What is the difference between something measurable and not measurable? e.g., When I look at the audience here, I can not see a social farbric, becaue I don’t know many of you, but if I do a survey in the audience and ask who knows who, this measurement would give us a friend network map, which is normally not visible. Then we can start seeing central actors, peripheries, clusters etc. But notice, this map only possible if you state your relationships. These are pages from Jacob Levy Moreno’s book publised in 1934, on the left, he uses a X-Y chart to capture a social activity, and turns it into a relationship map on the right.
  14. 14. 14 In another page, Moreno maps the kindergarten, kids running around random relationships, then on the right, the third grade, as kids grow up they forms social clusters, mainly groups of girls and boys.
  15. 15. JACOB LEVY MORENO WHO SHALL SURVIVE, 1934 15 Jacob Levy Moreno, a psychoanalyst, who applied these measurement techniques and did psychoanalysis in the societal level. He is the founder of Sociometry, Group Psychotherapy, and Sociodrama... You can find this book free online. He invented these techniques in 1930s, again the critical question is, who is using these techniques today?
  16. 16. AT&T Global Networks Operation Center 16 It is even more obvious that it is the corporations and government institutions... If you capture and measure an activity and map it, then you can mathematically formulate / model it, if you can model it then you can predict its future, if you can predict its future, then you can control it.
  17. 17. Creative and critical use of complex networks PREDICTION – My Pocket (2007), Artist Collector Network (2011-) TRAVERSAL – Monovacation (2013) COLLECTIVE MAPPING – Networks of Dispossession (2011-) 17 What we gonna look at now is few examples from my work on the creative and critical use of complex networks. I want to talk about them under three strategies: 1) Prediction – generated from the analysis of data. 2) Traversal – aggregation of experiences from navigating within the network. 3) Collective Mapping – connecting our partial data and work to see our bigger picture.
  18. 18. Guy Debord, The Naked City, 1957 18 Before talking about my work, I want to mention three important artists, who used diagrams within their work and inspirations for my practice. Guy Debord during mid 50s developed the term “psychogeography” as the study of geographical environments in relation to the emotions and behavior of individuals.
  19. 19. George Maciunas, Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus 1973 19 George Maciunas, initiater of the Fluxus movement, designed a grand chart for art history in 1973, an exhaustive chronicle of Fluxus movement that would also narrate its origins since the beginning of performance-based art. George Maciunas, Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus and Other 4 Dimentional, Aural, Optic, Olfactory, Epithelial and Tactile Art Forms, annotated by Alison Knowles
  20. 20. Hans Haacke, Systems, 1971 20 Hans Haacke, who started thinking and making art as a system in the 60s. His “Systems” exhibition in 1971 at Guggenheim was showing exchange of mortgages within Shapolsky real-estate group in Manhattan. Because his chart contained a museum trustee, the show was cancelled, the curator was fired...
  21. 21. My Pocket (2007) 21
  22. 22. “Karl Marx bank cards prove hit in eastern Germany” Reuters, Jun 15th, 2012 22 In 2005, while I was studying at the MIT Media Lab, I had a meeting with Mastercard company who was a sponsor of the lab by then. They asked, if we could visualize the millions of transactions they have. After I left the meeting, I felt quite uncomfortable. I thought, if they can see the patterns in my spending behavior, I should see it myself too.
  23. 23. 23 Then, I went and downloaded transactions from my bank account, and started putting the data into basic charts, seeing how frequently I buy things. A lot of coffee from Starbucks, monthly metrocard, grocery shopping every once in a while, ATM cash withdrawals and so on.
  24. 24. 24 What is crucial here is that, as you may know, banks share this information with 3rd parties...
  25. 25. Bank of America Privacy Policy for Consumers 2008 25 ...including financial services, retailers, and marketing companies.
  26. 26. Bank of America Privacy Policy for Consumers 2008 26 They share it, even we say no!
  27. 27. MYPOCKET is a 2007 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation. Photograph from “New Media: Why” exhibition Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, 2009. 27 So, using my bank transactions I created a live software system, MyPocket, that predicts what will I buy next every other day. Every time I swiped my card, the transaction data was going into my bank account, it was being pulled automatically into MyPocket database, which was then analyzed and turned into predictions. It can be considered as an early critique of the quantified-self phenomenon. If we look at its material: The work is one system and has 3 instances that manifest the ideas: the Transactions Graph, the Transactions Feed, and the Predicted Objects (seen on the pedestals) are exhibited together.
  28. 28. TI COUZ travel $26.31 MEDIA TEMPLE online $20.0 ATM cash $2.0 GOAT HILL dining $37.42 OSHA THAI dining $41.0 ATM cash $41.75 MICHAELS GELATO drinks $5.75 DREAMHOST.COM online $19.9 PENINSULA FOUNTAIN drinks $27.73 GOAT HILL dining $17.48 NEW POTRERO groceries $11.14 SHOE PAVILION clothing $37.96 Transactions Graph Tue 04 Sep, 2007 28 Transactions Graph – The core of the prediction mechanism is the network model, where nodes are the individual transaction events, and connections are similarities, created if two spending are in the same category or happened on the same day of the week.
  29. 29. 29 Here is a movie captured from the layout algorithm processing the diagram. It moves day by day and new transactions appear or disappear on the canvas. Colors on the edges change based on the intensity of the force, brighter when strong, darker when rested... Using this network model and with the help of the custom rules, the program was able to make sucessful predictions on my daily spending.
  30. 30. Transactions Feed 30 Transactions Feed – My purchase information was publicly put on the web. Anyone could see what I bought in the past and what I will buy in the future. In this view, red ones are current predictions, greens are correctly predicted purchases, white ones are the unpredicted purchases. As a result, my spending data was no longer exclusive for banks and marketing companies.
  31. 31. Predicted Objects 31 Finally, the collected receipts were sorted in a box, and everytime they are correctly predicted I marked its probability with a green stamp (you can read at the top). Along with the unique info on them, sec detail date and unique IDs, the receipts become, what I call “predicted objects”. The existence of these physical evidences of a unique event were predicted, through deliberate analysis and living. These are readymades, like the ordinary objects appropriated by artists... But, these readymades are found in the future, rather than in the past, as opposed to the Duchampian readymades invented in the beggining of the 20th century.
  32. 32. Artist Collector Network (2011-) 32 Now moving along, a second example for the strategy of “prediction” in the use complex networks. In 2010, I moved back to Istanbul got more involved in the art ecosystem, realizing that the booming art market in Istanbul has quite influence on the art production. At some point it became a necessity for me to look at the shape of this market. So started a research that I call “Artist Collector Network”, an exploratory map of collectors and artists based on the relationship of being in an art collection.
  33. 33. 33 Let’s look at this network model, a collector has a piece from multiple artists, and an artist can be in multiple collections. Some collectors do in depth gathering of many pieces from few artists, others do lateral collecting –few pieces from each artist, this intensity is represented as the weight of the edges, which guides the organization of its layout.
  34. 34. 34 When the model is filled with data from the research, we got artist-collector relations at scale. Artists red, collectors black. The map contains 46 collectors, 738 artists, and 3256 connections. Data for the map was generated by directly asking to collectors and artists... so that the data is provided from both parties of an acquisition. Yet, verified only once by the source person who provides the data. This is the “research protocol” that I deliberatly decided to add to the work, which creates a tension between both sides / the owners of the data of an art acquisition.
  35. 35. 35 A detail from the map, the proximity of the names mean that they are similar in terms of the art market. Cetrality of a name represents the influence in the art market in Turkey. This is an ongoing project, as the work is exhibited, I ask the host institutions to connect me with the art network around them so that I can solicit people’s participation to the map. The database grows overtime, last year relations from Ljubljana was added, this year it is in Beirut. There is an open call on its website, no need to say the map is available online for everyone to view. With the last phase of this work, an algorithmic prediction system presents future links between artists and collectors, that is the probability of a collector acquiring a work from a new artist and vice versa.
  36. 36. Monovacation (2013) 36 Where we gonna go now... is the strategy of “traversal” in the use of complex networks. Last year, I was invited to do work on tourism. And I decided to look at the official tourism commercials of countries. These are 30 sec to 1 min films you see in the airports or in the international TV broadcast. I’ve selected 30 countries, that Turkey Ministry of Tourism stated as its competitors.
  37. 37. 37 These movies have a lot in common, for example you see “horse” in many countries. In Emirates and Egypt people ride horse as sports, in Turkey the horse is a mythological object, in Portugal and Spain you can train horses... South east asia advertise themselves as mystical places, mediterranian region is all about food, wine, nightlife, southern europe wants to be your neighbour to get rest and so on.
  38. 38. sea man woman city historic building monumentpleasure youth history sun historic site beach city view peace mountains view erkek JQHü GHQL] NDG×Q üHKLU WDULKLELQD JHQoOLN WDULKLDODQ WDULK DQ×W ]HYN SODM üHKLUPDQ]DUDV× KX]XU GDùODU PDQ]DUD 女性 太陽 海 男性 都会 歴史的建造物 若さ 歴史 遺跡 記念碑喜び ビーチ 街の眺め 平和 山 眺め 38 So I divided each film, into possible tiniest 3-4 sec clips and coded each sequence with tags, descriptive, reflective, conceptual and so on. Then the shared tags in the clips made a similarity map. Through running it as a software simulation, they found their positions on the map.
  39. 39. 39 Then, starting from the “rowboat” node at the bottom, I run a traversal algorithm, jumping from one node to the closest, following the path of the most central tags. Scenes from Egypt to Portugal, woman from Israel to India, mythological figures from Thailand to Turkey, all clips collected and lined up during the traversal process, and as a result made a new movie... showing us an extracted fantasy of “vacation”… a monolithical vacation of vacations.
  40. 40. 40 What you see here is a morph of concepts, rather than morph of images. See the online documentation here http://
  41. 41. Graph Commons (2011-) 41 What we gonna look at now, as the final strategy: “collective mapping”. Again, we are interested in where power resides and circulates.
  42. 42. Power does not reside in institutions, not even the state or large corporations. It is located in the networks that structure society . . . Manuel Castells 42 Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells says “Power does not reside in institutions, not even the state or large corporations. It is located in the networks that structure society”. He continues saying “without understanding their logic, we cannot change their programmes.” I think by experience we all know that relationships aggreagate power. Yet, we end up failing as active agents, who, hands on, have the means of criticizing complex networks. Not because we are incapable of comprehending the network effect... but I think for two reasons:
  43. 43. “Police Find Car Bomb in Times Square” New York Times May 1st, 2010 43 1) First, the tools for network mapping and analysis are designed by the engineers for the engineers, scientists, and business experts... targeted for consluting, rarely you find tools, even open source, but always with a scientific interface, that you have to study to be able to start using it. So, not accessible to non-technological common people. And not easy to sketch data models or use for critical purposes.
  44. 44. ATT Global Networks Operation Center 44 2) Second, there is the myth that common people has no access to data. Yet, we are the data for the governments and companies who continuously sense our activity. It would be wrong to assume that individual track of data would have a minor effect.
  45. 45. 45 In fact, collective mapping of relationships and interconnecting our individual data points would indeed render complex structures visible, thus discussible. Together we can map relationships and unfold the mystery about the issues that impact us and our communities. (Here we made a map of relations among Mongolian cultural symbols in the Ulaanbaatar workshop.) * Network Mapping and Analysis Workshop at Open Academy, Ulaanbaatar, July 2011 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  46. 46. 46 Since 2007, I’ve been conducting network mapping and analysis workshops with artists, activists, NGOs, architects, students and so on. In these workshops, participants start from hand drawn simple graph models, and gradually build complex network diagrams. We collectively draw maps on a large sheet and discuss them. * 11th Berlin Biennale, workshop during the exhibition, Berlin, 2012 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  47. 47. 47 a French and Turkish NGO created a network map of shared partnerships. Great for small organizations to strategize about their organization’s network. * Network Mapping NGO Training, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, 2009. View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  48. 48. 48 Group mapping enables inherent feedback between the participants, which inspires people for generating data relevant to their causes. * SIDU Network Mapping Workshop, Helsinki Citizens' Int. Assembly, Istanbul, 2010 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  49. 49. 49 ...a background map is useful for creating a new map. Here participants are using the map of science disciplines, to overlay artists who engage in the science disciplines. * Performa Creative Networking Workshop, New York, 2011 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  50. 50. 50 Sao Paulo bienniale floor map (2010), reorganized by the assitants of the biennial. * Network Mapping Workshop, 4th Upgrade!International Conference, São Paulo, 2010 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  51. 51. 51 They wired the pieces to the concepts that they think it is realevant, and made a new conceptual map of the Sao Paulo bienniale. Psychogeography meets exhibiting. * Network Mapping Workshop, 4th Upgrade!International Conference, São Paulo, 2010 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  52. 52. 52 The learning of network analysis happens through comparison and discussion of maps, when they are presented to each other. * Network Mapping and Analysis Workshop, Amber'10 Datacity, Istanbul, 2010 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  53. 53. 53 Presentation of maps in Ulaanbaatar. * Network Mapping and Analysis Workshop at Open Academy, Ulaanbaatar, July 2011 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  54. 54. 54 Participants use online resources to find data for their maps. * Network Mapping and Analysis Workshop, ARTER, Istanbul, March 2011 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  55. 55. 55 Hand drawn maps get really messy very quikcly, maps are revisioned multiple times...
  56. 56. 56 After a moment you need to transfer the maps from the paper canvas to a software canvas... * SIDU Network Mapping Workshop, Helsinki Citizens' Int. Assembly, Istanbul, 2010 View more at Network Mapping Workshop Archive
  57. 57. 57 ... so that the hand crafted map is turns into an algorihmic interface, readable, explorable, and analyzable.
  58. 58. 58 So to support these workshops, I started developing a web based collaborative “network mapping” tool, which also acts as a diagrammatic knowledge base of relationships, edited by the people who are using it. The name Graph Commons is counter to terms such as “social graph”, “knowledge graph”, “interest graph”, “taste graph”, which all point to a proprietary graph. Here we reverse the terms, and say “graph commons” instead, to name a place, where graphs are owned collectively by the people who are creating them. All data is licensed to authors under Creative Commons version 4.0 International (which considers and protects data gathering as a creative activity). No need to say, always accessible in JSON and GraphML formats to use in other applications.
  59. 59. 59 Sketching with data like we sketch with software. The web based tool provides a quick way to sketch data models, by reducing the feedback time between the data editing and mapping. I want to show you the actual working interface.
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  64. 64. 64 As you can see, interconnecting our individual data points would indeed render complex structures visible and discussible. What is crucial is a matter of raising questions on relationships at scale. I’m going to leave you with the idea that “network is a uniqe medium for expression and action”, that you can create your own boutique graphs and use its intelligence for the causes that matter to you and to your community.
  65. 65. Thanks. @graphcommons 65