2023 - 2024

Generative Audiovisual

The digital realm, once heralded as an intangible utopia, is now intertwined and intrinsic, and demands introspection.
As we navigate the expansive corridors of the internet, we must reckon with the repercussions of our digital existence. This artistic exploration by Ali Phi delves into the aesthetics of digital data, inspecting the  digital waste that results from human activities in virtual landscapes.. Phi positions our impact as central to understanding/questioning the very nature of data storage, user influence, and the implicit trust we place in the virtual ecosystem.
Embarking on a journey through the realms of techno-social activities, Ali Phi guides  focus towards  human  impact. Decompositions for Computers, utilizes complex data sets  to expose the unseen consequences of our digital footprints. By examining case studies of data waste in personal and corporate spheres, Ali Phi and his team have nurtured a responsive  map of the evolving landscape of our digital detritus. This mapping creates a dynamic, generative audiovisual artwork—an immersive installation that breathes life into the overlooked remnants of our online activities. Digital waste, an environmental challenge stemming from poor data stewardship, is the focal point, with a spotlight on the carbon emissions and energy consumption inherent in the data-driven infrastructures of tech giants.
During the recording process, other sensory elements are recorded which activates those recalled memories and leads to the flow of thoughts that are sometimes considered Dejavus. The same logic is used in robotics and artificial intelligence navigation systems for wayfinding ignoring the recording process of feelings and other cognitive sensories.

Digital waste is a new term that describes the environmental consequences of poor data stewardship. Digital waste is data waste, the long-term effects of storing vast amounts of information in a digital format whether that information is raw data, processed data, idle or in use. Often, experts use the term digital waste to refer to the carbon emissions and energy consumption produced by data-driven infrastructures like the massive database complexes that power cloud services offered by Microsoft, Google and Amazon. The rise of cloud storage and computing has made large-scale data storage cheaper and easier than ever. While it may seem like storing data shouldn’t be too energy-intensive, there is a carbon cost to data storage. For every 100 gigabytes of data you save and store in the cloud, you generate around 0.2 tons of carbon dioxide every year. This isn’t much CO2 compared to other carbon-generating activities, like driving a car or heating a home with gas. However, this carbon cost can add up quickly. In 2016, the average business saved and stored 347.56 terabytes of data, according to research from HubSpot. Keeping that amount of data stored would generate nearly 700 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The analysis begins by examining the percentage growth of internet users by country and year, integrating World Bank data, death rates, and world population information. With our uniquely trained system, calculations reveal a significant amount of data produced by the leftover traces of deceased individuals on the internet from 1990-2022 - data leftovers from dead populations  expected to surpass that of the living. The next stage of our analysis focuses on the impact of emails on digital waste, projecting daily email numbers from 1990-2022. Carbon footprints caused by emails are quantified, reflecting pollution generated by both the living and the deceased on the internet grid. The analysis concludes with a projection of CO2 emissions by deceased individuals into 2050, highlighting the persistent growth of digital waste.

The flow of the project happens in five different parts, starting with ”Formation, Creation, Connection”, the focus on the rising number of internet users in 226 different countries from 1990 based on the data acquired from The Word Bank. It continues with “Human Factor, Parallel Universe”, the energy consumption caused by growth of human users, handheld devices and web2 developments including early social media platform like Orkut, Hi5 and Yahoo 360 between years of 2000 to 2010. An AI trained model from the library of the users profiles on these platforms from cached pages were used to generate and manipulate the generative feed of portraits into the visuals of the scene.The study of the third decade of 2010-2020 is focused on nun-human vs human users including the energy consumption of good bots, bad bots and share of human factors based on the data acquired from Impreva, Statista and Cloudflare.
2020 starts with all the effects of Covid-19 and rise of blockchain technology and NFTs, where the imaginative part of the project happened using AI to predict and extrapolate data for this decade and the next which will be the 4th and 5th part of the project. This scene continues, inspired by the phenomenon is recently known as the “Dead to Alive” ratio addressed on a research done by Oxford(5), as of September 2020, over 30 million people on Facebook are dead. It is expected that the number of dead people on social media will exceed actual living users by 2070. A data base of death and birth factors where injected into the internet users growth and a table of data consumed by deads were created for the last part that confronts with the same table for alive users to form the visual aesthetics of the last scene

The presentation of the project includes an audiovisual performance set, Spatial Exhibition with generative audiovisual content and interactive installations and Virtual Reality (VR).
Detailed overview of the project and to access all presentation materials available on:

The project is supported by the Canada Council of Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

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