The primary claim to data gathering, determining what data is in the first place, what the status of information is, and how knowledge is to be made operational, is no longer wed to universities and academic institutions. Neither is its output: essay, report, document – the sole format through which broadly shared notions on what is acceptable and real can be spread. Networks of professional amateurs, informed citizens and self-taught experts as well as science itself are looking for new trusted formats of transmitting data, information and knowl edge. The expertise of designers and artists in designing broadly shared events, conferences, local workshops, flash mob seminars in streets and neighbourhoods, foregrounding humour, irony, passion and love, is essential.
Maybe it can be the positive solution, the logical step in the history of outsourcing memory to objects, devices and the environment, for the challenges we all face today of an ever growing individualization that might tempt citizens into breaking with the existing solidarities (among race, gender, ethnicity, age…) that are currently harnessed through the nation state. What if through the Internet of Things we can create a layer of data, open to all, through which individuals can decide for themselves what they are willing to pay for, get direct feedback from their voluntary donations, coordinate community spending that has a direct bearing to their needs through participatory budgeting, negotiate with other people in other parts of the world how to use their money?