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”.