The Forever-Do Game is a socially relational public artwork or happening, in which people flow around a physically networked space by following a set of instructions written on a box. It was re-presented in this second more developed iteration, as a new installation work through extended collaborations with the artist group Otolab and the MC3 research group at the University of Biccoca Milan. The Game was originally presented in March 2019 at the Palazzo Giureconsulti, Milan, during Milan Digital Week. This second much larger presentation was reconfigured to included Radio Frequency Identification tracking (RFID) and was presented across analogue and digital platforms for the Resonance III Festival at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s research centre in Ispra, Italy.

The artwork consists of 2,000 A4 paper storage boxes, stacked in piles around coloured doormats placed on the floor of a large atrium at the JRC. There are 16 doormats, 4 red, 4 yellow, 4 black and 4 blue. On the top of each box is a pictogram that represents the movements that people are invited to make within the space of the game, players pick up a box and follow the instructions on the top. Inside each box is a RFID tag, which is tracked by 6 antenna’s placed around the perimeter of the installation. A live stream showing the tracking of the boxes is presented on two screens positioned to face back into the installation. Presented across these analogue and digital plat- forms, the game propels its human participants on a global journey that mirrors a c a u s a l flow of data. It also works to make visible a physical link between human interaction and data flow. A symbiotic relationship placing the individual within the data whole – presenting the consequential referral, of self to network, and net- work to self. In this way the Forever-do Game defines its Datami as an organic consequence of cause and effect within a greater and ever flowing whole.

The artwork 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 de- sign of systems, distributed in time and space. The strength of these nets is their explicit representation of fundamental situations of coordination and concurrency among system 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 Pe- tri Nets. One of Petri’s examples, the Bucket Chain, is a simple explanation of coordinated behaviour be- tween firemen extinguishing a fire, as they carry water from the tank to the 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 the Forever-do Project.

The artwork is a result of a year-long collaboration with Carlo Ferigatio researcher at the JRC.E.2 Technology Innovation in Security. It was commissioned for the Resonances Festival III, by the European Commissions, JRC’s SciArt project. Resonances Festival brings together scientists, artists and policy makers to discuss matters of concern, not only to the JRC and the European Commission but also more widely to society.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIspra, Italy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019
EventResonances III Festival: Datami, the Exhibition - European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy
Duration: 15 Oct 20198 Nov 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

    Townsley, J., 14 Mar 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

    Open Access
  • 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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