The Data Flâneur
Client Assignment

The Data Flaneur is a canditate project which has been selected to be realised in the Smart City Living Lab located on the north wing of the boulevard of Scheveningen, The Hague. The Province of South-Holland issued a quest to the department of Interactive Media Design for an installation that would help residents and visitors of the beach consciously reflect on the implications of smart city data collection.

Xiayao Ma, Marco Dell’Abate and I co-developed an idea around the concept of the “Flâneur”. An old notion defining a character who saunters throughout the city carefully observing their surroundings while at the same time being fully aware of their physical presence within that environment. The concept has also been translated to a “Boulevardier”: someone who exhibits this behaviour along the context of a coastal area.

In Dutch “Flaneering” is definded as the act of “seeing and being seen”, tieing in to the idea that the smart city observes you while you move through it’s network. Using the symbolic visualisation of a cone of light as the area where the smart city observes we aimed at intuitively explaining data collection to people of all levels of digital literacy. Inviting them to reflect on these developments in their area.

“A flâneur is an ambivalent figure of urban affluence and modernity, representing the ability to wander through society with no other purpose than to be an acute observer of industrialized, contemporay life.”

Artist’s rendering of the full installation at night.
The circle representing the area where the smart city observes.
Kinect V1, Laser

©2022 Jeroen Alexander Meijer