PrivacyWeek 2020

Imaging the Ideal Smart Citizen in Future Urban Environments
2020-10-29, 14:00–14:45, Lecture Hall 1
Language: English

This talk takes a closer look on newtown 'smart cities' and the role of its citizens in Middle East and East Asia. The artistic research is presented in form of a multichannel video installation, decoding the visual and rhetorical language of “smartness”.


This talk takes a closer look on greenfield initiatives branded as 'smart cities' and its citizens in Middle East and East Asia. The management and sustainability of these newly established urban areas is one of the most critical challenges our society faces today. Ubiquitous computing and Artificial intelligence create interconnected monitored urban environments that promise improved living standards, optimizing efficiency, sustainable development, Eco-friendliness and personal security. A comparative study of 11 smart cities promotion videos indicates that these newtown projects are planned and promoted as final products for their ideal citizens. However, first hand observations of smart cities in South Korea, show that not all citizens who eventually live in greenfield cities conform to the idealized smart citizen characteristics and begin re-appropriating their living space by using various strategies to shape the city to their needs. This demonstrates that the development of a city is an ongoing process and never finalized. The artistic research is presented in form of Future past still in the making a multichannel video installation comprising of; recorded material from smart city visits in South Korea, marketing material published by corporations and smart city initiatives, time-laps satellite images and using face recognition tools in a search for the ideal citizen, decoding the visual and rhetorical language of “smartness”.

KairUs is a collective of two artists Linda Kronman (Finland) and Andreas Zingerle (Austria). Currently based in Bergen (Norway), they explore topics such as vulnerabilities in IoT devices, corporatization of city governance in Smart Cities and citizen sensitive projects in which technology is used to reclaim control of our living environments. Their practice based research is closely intertwined with their artistic production, adopting methodologies used by anthropologists and sociologist, their artworks are often informed by archival research, participation observations and field research. Besides the artworks they publish academic research papers and open access publications to contextualize their artworks to wider discourses such as data privacy & security, activism & hacking culture, disruptive art practices, electronic waste and materiality of the internet.

This speaker also holds: