A tool-chest

triage gear, kit to keep us _ the half-seeing _ standing in the face of an unceasing data assault

The space of appearance is a tagline. It’s out of a “how to book” by a German philosopher. The philosopher is Hannah Arendt. The book is “The Human Condition.” Hannah Arendt’s book is a tool chest for remix tinkers. It’s a check list for designers in a skirmish with the flat. And more than that, when all around hollows out, it’s the map out. Arendt was an idea archeologist. Like Patrick Geddes she was keen on the Greek street. She understood that’s where it started. The classical street, first time polis, is where much of who we are emerged. And it’s on the Greek street where Hannah Arendt starting routing out tools for a space of appearance.


This paper describes two workshops raising awareness of the complexity of the interactions between digital and non-digital space, networks, devices, and systems. The exercises are included in broader research that deals with the human condition in the contemporary and future cities, focusing on the relationship between public space and weaponized data as a threat but also as an opportunity to act. A new way to understand and operate the street must be developed, with new epistemic assemblages, which allow us to avoid dystopian or technocratic visions in order to think collectively in our future human habitat. We offer here a toolkit, a series of strategies, to cope with the overwhelming complexity and act.


UNESCO Brief: 2. 4 Impact: This is about the impact of digital technologies on the human habitat. Too often technological forces seem like an intractable machine, uncontrolled by their digerati designers and their behemoth corporate holders. People see themselves as victims of a digital tsunami, left stranded in a public sphere smeared with social media detritus piled high. It is easy to go numb, but passive acquiescence is perilous. The project proposes a tool chest to help people act and map a way out. It’s a strategy for a sustained activist MIL practice, one that will contribute long term change, and change lives.

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