Arts and cultural activities, Social inclusion

Data Meditation

Creating new forms of solidariety and empathy through science, technology and art.


Who is behind this?

Salvatore Iaconesi

Nuovo Abitare



Idea pitch

Data as a generative process. Data used to experience the life of the other.
Born during the COVID pandemics, Data Meditation is a technologic neo-ritual with strong social and psychological impacts.
Two communities are selected, an some people from each one of them. Every day, they generate data about their daily lives, emotions, expectations, fears. Data is tranformed into sounds for a periodic meditation and into a data-art exhibit, to experience oneself and the others, and new solidarity.

Where will your project idea take place?

Rome its peripheric and rural surroundings

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

This project aims at using technology and art to act on people's psychology in positive, constructive levels. The objective is to provide new ritualities in modern life in which it is possibile to experience and discuss other people's lives, at levels that are both intimate and public, through the periodic ritual of data-meditation and the exhibit.
On top of that, the anonymized data remains, to be used for policy, research and education.
All these modalities contribute to activating citizens, who have multiple ways to act and collaborate; engage dialogue, through the experiences and the shared discussions held after the rituals and the exhibit, and augment local and inter-communitary cohesion, leading to impacts.

Who are you doing it for?

Two different communities that are very diverse from each other, connecting diametrically: urban/rural, centre/periphery, culture1/culture2, etc. By using data instead of "language" we can also play across differences very easily.
The planned setup would engage two different communities in the Roman neighbourhood in Torpignattara (the urban creatives that aboundantly inhabit the neighbourhood, and the community from Bangladesh which is also very present, but separated from the previous)

How do you plan to get there?

1) Onboarding
The phase will ensure participation. On the one hand we will have a joint meeting of the neighbourhood committee in Rome, to stimulate participation of the first community, through their own associations. On the other hand, we will refer to the creative hubs that are present in the neighbourhood, which host the rich creative community, through dedicated meetings.
2) Data & Rituals
The process will then start. Participants from the two communities will use an app to express anonymized data about themselves in their daily lives, their expectations, emotions, fears, desires and everyday activities.
Once a week, they will meet (online or offline) in a ritual: the meditation. Each participant will be coupled to another one from the other community. Their data from the past days will be transformed into sounds, using headphones: the participant's data on the left ear, and the other's on the right. This will naturally stimulate participants to compare their dailly lives and emotions, developing empathy.
After the meditations, shared sessions will help participants explore their experience.
3) Exhibit & Community
An data-art exhibit will bring the experience in the public space, to other members of the community, opening up discussions and scenarios.
4) Rooting & Expansion
More sessions will be promoted, both in the same communities and in others.

What are the expected results?

1) two communities will experience different ways to experience empathy in an innovative way

2) item 1) will be brought out in the public space and discussion, providing shared insights on the possible role of technologies dedicated to solidarity and empathy, in an idea of cultural evolution

3) the previous items will be leveraged, inside and outside the first communities, to propose other scenarios

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The first thing which is necessary for citizen activation is awareness of the community issues. This means not only recognizing others, but also to feel them, to empathize and experience solidarity.
This is the reason why we believe that these kind of technological+artistic interventions have a large potential.
Technologies are able to bring us new sensibilities: data can be collected and transformed into visuals and sounds, exposed to our senses. In this way we can feel new things, because every human being, building, neighbourhood, city, tree, animal and forest can generate data, which becomes a sort of common ground through which we can experience the complex phenomena around us, and become more active.

Why is this idea important to you?

The HER: She Loves Data research center invented the Data Meditations format:
The Nuovo Abitare non profit organization was created soon thereafter to progressively collect these new rituals, with the objective of making them fully available and accessible in society.

€ 38000,-

Total budget

€ 33000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Tech development: 10000
Process design: 2000
Materials and services: 3000
Community engagement: 5000
Communication: 3000
Facilitation: 5000
Monitoring: 1000
Dissemination: 2000
Administration & indirect: 2000
Project mgmt & coordination: 3000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to receive open, constructive critiques to the concept, and also possible constructive usage scenarios that we could develop together.



Idea created on April 14, 2021
Last edit on April 14, 2021

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