Creating a virtual archive of big dada data: a deliberately nonsensical yet accurate online data set documenting dada 2016. How will we do it?

We propose to use controversial big data to create a digital documentation of the dada centenary in a process called reality mining.

«Reality mining is the collection and analysis of machine-sensed environmental data pertaining to human social behaviour with the goal of identifying predictable patterns of behaviour. Reality mining studies human interactions based on the usage of wireless devices.. such as mobile phones ..providing a more accurate picture of what people do, where they go, and with whom they communicate with, rather than from more subjective sources such as a person’s own account.» Defined thanks to Wikipedia.

The mined data will be displayed through visualisations analysing trends from over 100 years of dada and the Cabaret Voltaire as part of a virtual archive on our specially created website. We will also include a Livestream recording which will beam the live celebrations at Cabaret Voltaire worldwide.


How will we do it?

The mined data will be captured using data badges and the Livestream set-up. We are launching this we-make-it campaign to cover the equipment costs. After securing the equipment, we will be applying for private funding to cover the costs of a «DaDATA» technician to build a website to house the virtual archive and display the Livestream.

What are the equipment costs?

  • CHF 10’000: The data-badges supplied at a not-for-profit-rate cost CHF 500 each. They need to be programmed at least three months prior to the event and sent to Zurich from the U.S. We are hoping to order 20 badges to enable us to set up a control group of the Cabaret Voltaire staff, alongside shifting audience members and performers.
  • CHF 1’000: We need CHF 1000 to cover the costs of setting up a livestream: we will either be using go-pro, CCTV installation or you-tube live.
  • TOTAL = CHF 11’000

Envisaging the virtual archive of DaDATA 2016

Our data technician will build a website to house the virtual archive. The virtual archive will include:

  • Live DaDATA: plotted interactions from the badges (explained in detail underneath)
  • Livestream of performances
  • A storage point for visitors to upload their own footage and edit their own recollections of events.

Live mined data – What does that look like?

The mined data will appear as a series of rows of data for each recorded interaction between badge-wearers, something like this: timestamp, event-type, device id

To add meaning and visual intrigue to this updating data, set visualizations will be set up to probe the server at intervals displaying new data on the website on a series of graphs with x /y co-ordinates. These co-ordinates could easily follow the qualities of interaction that the badges pick up on, for example: Dominance in interaction, balance in speech, turn-taking…etc

Eventually more abstract questions could be asked of the data-set by the online community including:

  • Has dada been institutionalized? If not, is this DaDATA of interest to other Institutions.
  • Is it possible to have an Avant-Garde today?
  • What are the other possible uses of an Avant-Garde data set?

Summary of the virtual archive:

  • Is the first freely accessible deliberately nonsensical online data set.
  • Allows for worldwide interpretation of dada for those who cannot be in Switzerland for the celebrations and captures 2016 for future dada lovers.
  • Creates a nonsensical yet interpretable record embedded in history, in league with dada 1916.
  • Presents an opportunity to analyse / visualise DaDATA. Asking questions of dada today.