Tag Archives: le

Mapping Le

Le Positive AreasWith this world map of Le Positive Regions (in Turquoise) we see that the global condition has become one of city/not city rather than one of national borders. The map also introduces the notion of levels of ‘Le-ness’, in this case distinguishing between primary (>90% Le by population) and secondary (>70%) cities. The Le network would operate much like current free movement zones, with residents of these cities being able to move freely between others in the network. Likewise each of these cities would be linked culturally, economically and legally: trade, currency, and law would apply between the cities as if they were one gigantic megacity (which they kind of are).

The wilderness of the arctic circle forms Le’s brain (or at least the calculating part of it), where her servers sit fortified, isolated and cooled by the hostility of the otherwise barren landscape.

In the map, we see old notions of continental territory shift, as the Americas and Europe (whilst maintaining a relatively high influence/population ratio due to their histories as sites of great cultural and economic prowess) shrink and the Asian and African regions grow to have increasingly significant influence on Le’s constitution (in the personality sense – although maybe in the legal one too…)

From here, to explore the dynamic and ever changing nature of Le I hope to profile:

1. A city that is a Le-xodus territory by day and a Le city by night 

Where a conservative city hires a large immigrant community of construction workers (who are themselves rate highly within Le’s algorithm) to build/maintain the physical infrastructures of their city by night as they sleep. This could be an opportunity for an interesting ‘crosshatch’ whose edges are sunrise and sunset.

2. A city with an extreme and sharp transition between Le/not-Le 

Perhaps a profile of the city of Mesa Arizona, listed by Forbes as the most conservative city in America, but yet it hosts Apple’s largest data-centre. Two possibilities here – either the city is split between residents of Mesa and workers at the datacentre, or the residents of Mesa, while being excised from Le themselves, are actually in her employ maintaining her.

3. An act of terror on one of Le’s arctic data centres

Non-Le members, by nature of their disconnect from Le, have little to lose from the destruction of Le’s infrastructures. An interesting opportunity to reverse the narrative on terror placing those traditionally most fervently ‘anti-terror’ on the zealous side.

4. Migration events

A country town that spikes and momentarily becomes highly Le for a weekend music festival.

Dubai, despite it’s conservative culture and relatively shallow economic strategy rates as one of the most highly Le territories in the world due to its migrant population of construction workers from Asia.

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Indexing the Project through a Magazine


On Tuesday we discussed using the magazine as a format to sample the multiple natures of Le. I have started putting together a document to organise the stories that need to be assembled – a directory for describing Le, but also one for determining what I need to work on from here. I imagine that the project would be presented through the magazine, but with articles linking to other stories told through other media such as web blogs, youtube videos, adverts, film snippets/trailers, news clippings etc.

This way the media through which mass culture and collective consciousness are transmitted become the mediums for communicating the project.

I’ve started collating the material for this magazine issue in a contents page – will show more fleshed out tomorrow!contentsJust something interesting – bringing Deep Dream back – this is how it works (it’s a bit complicated but I think this guy breaks it down nicely).


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Introducing: LE

To move my line of inquiry out of the abstract and digital, and into the material effects of City, I’ve been working on a few scenarios that show the felt effect of City  rather than City itself.

Last tutorial we talked briefly about giving City a name, and so tentatively (for this week at least) I am calling her Le. Le sits at the intersection of two of my references – Hobbes’ (Le)viathan and (Le)na – the playboy model whose apparently average face has set the convention for facial recognition and has become a symbol for how our computers see the world. Furthermore, I like the multiple connotations that can be drawn from Le as a name; it is relatively gender neutral, allowing this incarnation of City to switch between male and female as necessary; it might allude to a persona with Chinese origins (China are undoubtedly playing an increasingly important role in shaping the character and control of dataspace); and if we take it’s literal French meaning, Le suggests a certain singularity (not in the AI or black hole sense though!) to the notion of City, (hopefully) further assisting in its personification.

le_buys-african-citySo, if the power that comes with human agency were given to the mass of online sentiment, what material change might we see in the world? How deep are the pockets of an individual whose bank account is the entire population of a belief circle (tribe)?

le_on-a-dietCould behaviours and aspirations we believe to be unique to individuals make themselves manifest on a societal level. If a shift amongst average consumers toward healthier eating pushed Le into a diet, how might that effect the fast food business? Would Le literally shut down access to unhealthy food by disabling the EFTPOS transactions in chains, or would the effect occur more subtlely – with the change in Le’s heart foretelling a future of imminent death for fast food, leading businesses to change model or reinvent themselves before their own demise? In this model, perhaps one of Le’s primary methods of enacting change could be the self-fulfilling prophecy.

le_un-annual-reportLe would be an invaluable asset to world leaders, whose agendas of control, peacekeeping and societal stability have long desired to tap into the collective consciousness. Le could bring a balancing voice to politics – comparing current issues to the great wins and epic failures of the past. However, if Le were personified, would she be used as a tool – much like the UN’s current ‘global pulse’ project, using Big Data to forecast and communicate, or would she be an independent entity with her own seat at the table? If so, what would Le’s will be worth? Does the vote of the collective weigh the same as the vote of the individual? Is an averaged intelligence really representative of the collective?

le_wells-fargo-cfoWe have already considered Le’s prescient powers; surely this ability to see society/economy/culture with clarity would be hugely desired by corporations. Could Le, whilst being the city herself, also be an employee of the city? Might the great powers of today try to take advantage of her – and if so, how would she interface with them?

Parallel to these mini-speculations, I have been looking into how we might begin to understand Le today, before her birth into the world I hope to flesh out.



The GDELT (Global Data on Events, Location and Tone) project is an open source data base that compiles and analyses news articles from around the world in astronomical quantities. They are a self professed database of society with over a quarter of a billion event records, three quarters of a trillion emotional assessments and one and a half billion location references.

This data is free for the public to search (thanks to cooperation from the big players like Google) and when used in association with data mapping software such as GEPHI, which enables us to draw fancy charts from Excel spreadsheets, emerging global trends can be observed. Obviously the dataset is too large to ever comprehend all in one go, but I am starting to experiment with pulling small chunks of data out a bit at a time to try and get a handle on roughly how it works.

presidential-campaign_gdelt_2015-2016This very initial test compares the ‘connected-ness’ of individuals mentioned in articles that include the words ‘Presidential Election’ and either ‘Trump’ or ‘Clinton’ (a somewhat arbitrarily chosen way to sample global sentiment – but I thought it would be a good reference for now seeing as my Facebook wall is full of them at the moment). It was interesting to see that Hillary seems to be much more connected than Trump, and that she has (not-surprisingly) Obama and (perhaps more surprisingly) Jesus Christ in her conceptual network.

The project has facilitated other interesting visualisations – like this map that graphs the sentiment of news reports worldwide (red = negative, green = positive) – according to this India is pretty full of negativity!

Interactive zoomable version here.

What is interesting about this data set is that with their Global Knowledge Graph archive, it is possible to understand digital cultural memory too – as trends can be traced backward in time.

This is a graph of the most prominent cultural thematic associated with the tag word ‘music’ from Jan 2015 until now. Unfortunately as I am still getting to grips with the software the key is pretty illegible at the moment – but hopefully later iterations if I keep using this data set will become more useful/revealing!


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