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Think tank #2

The second think tank about digital waste was held at Corda Campus on November 14, 2022. Several participants from Studio Plankton, PXL-MAD, Immersive Lab AP and studio.POC brainstormed about the conceptual development of 3 main projects, all dealing with one or more aspects about digital waste.

A further exploration of the concept(s) of digotal waste, in order to arrive at several conceptual prototypes, where the results of the first think tank are being taken into account. During this brainstorm session, 3 multidisciplinary teams were focusingin on the development of ' A tool/device/concept to recognize, visualize, counteract and/or recycle certain digital waste.'

A 3D-printed bio-sculpture that sparks joy

We are unaware of the amounts of data we store on our laptops and mobile devices and within our several data storage clouds with numerous accounts. Cleaning up our devices and accounts can cause great stress, since we have difficulties sorting out important and/or relevant data. Cleaning up a photo library looks pretty easy and doable, but what about back-end data and information on your devices and data clouds? Are those folders with abstract names necessary for a qualitative performance of your device? What data should we keep in a cloud? 

This team wants to organise physical (!) workshops, where employees of Corda Campus can bring their laptops and mobile devices in order to learn how to clean up their data waste. In true Marie Kondō-style of course!

After all, we aim to spark joy!

During the next 2 years - the remaining time of the project DISSOLUTION - we challenge the different employees and companies at Corda Campus to clean up their devices - with our help. We will set data cleaning challenges to make cleaning more fun.

How to visualise the progress? The data that gets erased, will be converted into a 3D-printed sculpture with organic material. DNA is able to store digital data. So the data that gets erased at Corda Campus, will know a second life as an organically 3D-printed sculpture. A Corda Sculpture that will grow and change continuously. The heath the 3D-printer will cause, will be used as renewable energy at the campus.
With this sculpture, we want to erase awareness about the massive amounts of unused and unnecessary data stored on devices and in virtual storage clouds.

Concept by: Patricia Domingues, Thomas Baert, Max Schweder and Ine Vanoeveren



Fiberbots by Neri Oxman

Concept for an application to create awareness around digital waste and storage. Being conscious and sustainable about posting and adding to the internet or cloud in addition to physical waste of time. 


PUFF(Y) is a companion-app (mobile or desktop) that shows a visual representation of your digital use. When installing the app, it will take over your phone and transform it into a kind of digital minimalism. If you use too much data or waste too much time online, the cloud gets darker, maybe even a mist over your screen or parts of your screen that become invisible because of cloudy pixels.

Keeping your pal “puffy” happy is the incentive, the motivation.

Usability ideas:

  • You choose how you put your level/goal (like a step counting apps)

  • You can gain points and in addition spend them in planting real trees or plants.

  • You can choose to use temporary storage, but at a certain limit, this space will be available for overrides.
    This makes you reflect on what to keep and what not. Think twice before you use permanent storage.

  • PUFF says “please upload fewer things”

Design ideas:

  • Black and white, pixels

  • When activated, your device becomes black and white and pixelated. (This might affect posts on insta and tiktok)

  • Minimal colors, minimale polygons, 2D vectors, back to basics > Macdraw visuals


Technical questions:

  • What kind of data can you gain?

  • Can an app take over your device as a filter or overlay?

  • How about permissions?

  • Ethical questions? 

  • What might ‘recycling’ mean in this context?

  • Are there possibilities for open source, shared public space online, upcycling, on demand… to save energy?

Concept by: Janna Beck, Anneleen Swillen and Tibaut Levaux


Echo chamber


A major application of collecting personal data, user data, online trackers, and all the other - rather unwanted - ways how data around digital behavior is being recorded, is for the personalization of algorithms.
Inspired by social media feeds that personalize the priority and order of posts, based on your likes and page views, content platforms such as YouTube and Netflix are taking even further:  customizing the images, order, description and even titles of media articles to encourage as much interaction as possible. Even news websites like HLN, amongst others, adjust the titles and order of news articles based on your reading behaviour. The result is that, as a user, you end up in an echo chamber in which your way of thinking is constantly confirmed and you lose an objective perception on certain topics. 

3D worlds are undergoing a similar transition as the Web: Web 1.0 was about static pre-programmed info and Web 2.0 a persistent personalized entity with a lot of user generated content. Until now, 3D experiences were mostly pre-programmed experiences or multiplayer games, but with the development of 'the Metaverse', a persistent 3D world filled with user generated content is being envisioned.

This team wants to visualize the effect of personalized media in a three-dimensional experience. Indeed, the "personalization" effect is rather subtle on websites and apps, but we want to illustrate how oppressive and subjective personalization can be in a 3D environment. We will therefore develop an experience that is initially a very rich experience with lots of variety of colors, environments, styles and activities. However, based on the user's behavior in the world, the world will learn what worlds the user is dwelling in, what activities the user is doing and what non-playable characters the user is interacting with.
Based on these interactions, the 3D world will adapt itself to offer more of the same: if the user goes to a disco, the world is going to become more and more of a disco and the other experiences will fade away. The avatars are going to converge to all identical figures based on user behavior. Eventually the experience converges to an echo chamber that solely reflects the user's behaviour. 

Concept by: Kristof Overdulve, Pieter Jan Valgaeren en Guus Vandeweerd.

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