A New Living
In 2020 we have been very quiet. We used the COVID global pandemics to take some time off.
This process had started in November 2019, for us. Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico, HER’s founders, have repurchased the shares of our baeautiful research center, and we had abandoned our headquarters in Rome by the end of the same year. Before COVID began, we were already smartworking with a goal in mind: a transformation of the research center to study and practice what we are calling the Rituals of the New Living.
In this newsletter you will find:
why and how we are reinventing our research center, what we mean when we say New Living and Rituals of the New Living, and why we think they are important concepts
Data Meditations, the first of these new rituals, born during the COVID pandemics
U-DATInos, Science, Techology, Society and Art as they should be, as we need them to be, in Palermo, Sicily, to study the health of river Oreto
things we liked around the web
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The Archive of the Rituals of the New Living
This article gives a first definition of what we mean by New Living:
«New Living is the condition in which a new cosmology is adopted, where human beings are not at the center, but part of a dynamic and diverse network of actors and agents: human, non-human, computational, with legal identity, plants, animals, complex actors such as forests and the seas. In this new living, data and computation have an important role. Given the globalized and hyperconnected character of the contexts that we inhabit, our senses are not sufficient anymore to perceive and understand what is and happens around ourselves.
This is only perceivable and understandable through enormous quantities and qualities of interconnected, incomplete and interpretable data, that can only be dealt with through the mediation of computational agents. For this, we need new senses/sensibilities – to bring these dimensions to sensitility, to that which can be experienced through our senses –. The New Living is all about these new possible alliances with data and computational agents.»
HER: She Loves Data, the new version of our research center, will study the Rituals of the New Living: the daily practices that are connected in this new necessary existential condition, in this new alliance between humans and non-humans, through data and computation.
HER: She Loves Data will create, curate and maintain ARNA:
«ARNA is the archive of the knowledge developed about the Rituals of the New Living [...], which are the recurrent and encoded practices [...] in which data and computation enter daily life in ways that have a sufficient emotional engagement, an aesthetic component – which can also be characteristic of different cultures in different times –, an evolution – to update its significance –, a social function – that allows to build and refresh bonding –, and that have a defined positioning at a level of our psychology (unconscious, conscious, relational, social...)».
This is very important, because it will be among the first examples done to observe and systematically understand this transformation, through the actual practices of our daily lives and the ways in which they make us who we are.
To know more about how we are reinventing our research center:
Data Meditations is the first Ritual of the New Living which we have studied and practiced during 2020.
The ritual was born during the COVID pandemics: while data in the war and death bulletins of the contagion were used as weapons to exercise the power to limit our freedoms through fear and anxiety, we wondered why none of the initiatives that we had witnessed went, instead, in the direction of data used as an instrument for spiritual uplifting, and to stimulate new forms of data-mediated empathy.
Thus, Data Meditations was born. A community uses data as part of their autobiography and self-representation. At a certain time of day, the data is transformed into sounds and visuals, used for a meditative practice. The practice includes ways to experience others’ people autobiography through data, to trigger new forms of data-mediated empathy.
At HER: She Loves Data we are conducting further studies and experiments, to bring Data Meditation practices to companies, communities, schools, neighbourhoods, condominiums, families, groups, cities and more.
To know more about Data Meditations:
Contact us if you’d like to experiment Data Meditation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Together with Ecomuseo Mare Memoria Viva in Palermo, we won a grant under the Creative Living Lab of the Direzione Generale Creatività Contemporanea inside MIBACT (Italy’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism), called U-DATInos.
Udatinos means “of water” in ancient greek, and the project aims to create a public art installation that takes the data about the health of the water of the Oreto river in Palermo and transforms it into a meditative experience.
For this, students, activists and other citizen have started to wear the role of Custodi dell’Acqua (the Custodians of Water): an act of participation which is leaving us marveled in excitement, as the Custodi periodically step into the river with their sensors, to collect the data as a beautiful participatory performance.
We consider this to be a beatiful process, showing how data – which, in this pandemics, has been used to separate people – can be a media to acquire new sensibilities – in this case, the health of the river – that can bring people together in a collective action.
To know more about the project: