The FOREVER-DO game: a socially relational public happening in which people, following a set of instructions, meet in coordinated interactions in space and time. Visitors to the Digital Week in Milano are invited to participate in a live variant of Carl Adam Petri's bucket chain example. Armed with brown or white boxes containing an everyday object, such as a spoon, participants travel through the meshes of a conceptual net. When individuals meet at net knots, a ‘causal flow’ of objects happens. Depending on the 'local'
circumstance around the similarity or difference of their cutlery, players are either invited to exchange objects (to be propelled forward in the game), or, are asked to leave their object behind in the box. Over time, and as more people play the game, the boxes stack around the room in piles. The piles of white and brown boxes can be interpreted as binary code: they make visible a poetic data trail of coordinated human interactions. The FOREVER-DO installation: A systems-based sculpture will be built using the data (resulting from relational human interactions), as represented by the piles of boxes built during the Digital Week. The sculpture will be constructed for the Resonance III festival
held at the Italian site of the JRC in October 2019.

The FOREVER-DO project and its resulting artwork is a collaboration between artist Jill Townsley, JRC researcher Carlo Ferigato and the MC3 research group at the Milano-Bicocca University. The project is funded through the SciArts initiative by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

FOREVER-DO explores the idea of ‘fishing’ into data sets generated by coordinated behaviours. The aim is to catch coherent patterns of data and represent them in visual artwork. Nets, traditionally a fisherman’s tool, are also the link between the art and science used in FOREVER-DO.

In theoretical Computer Science, nets are instruments for the analysis and design of systems, distributed in time and space. The strength of these nets is their explicit representation of fundamental situations of coordination and competition among system's agents; agents can be computers and/or human beings.

Nets, were introduced as formal Computer Science tools, by Carl Adam Petri in the nineteen-seventies and are today known as "Petri Nets". One of Petri’s example’s the ‘bucket chain’, is a simple explanation of coordinated behaviour between firemen extinguishing a fire; they carry water from tank to fire using a chain of buckets. This sequence explains how the coordination of behaviour and flow of data, in time and space, can be represented with nets. The bucket chain is the main source of inspiration for FOREVER-DO.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPalazzo Giureconsulti, Milan
PublisherMilan Digital Week
EditionMilan Digital Week 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2019


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  • The FOREVER-DO Game: A Big Data Fishing Expedition

    Townsley, J. & Ferigato, C., 20 Jul 2020, Technology, Design and the Arts - Opportunities and Challenges . Earnshaw, R., Liggett, S., Excell, P. & Thalmann, D. (eds.). 1st ed. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, p. 83-102 20 p. (Springer Series on Cultural Computing).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    Open Access
  • The Forever-do: Project & Collaboration

    Townsley, J., 15 Oct 2019, Resonance III: DATAMI. Eeckels, A., Grunert, F. P. & Fiordimela, C. (eds.). European Commision, p. 381-395 15 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

  • The FOREVER-DO Game 2

    Townsley, J., 15 Oct 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

  • The FOREVER-DO Infestation

    Townsley, J., 15 Oct 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

  • The FOREVER-DO Project

    Townsley, J., 11 Dec 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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