DAT YOUR DATA IS BEING MINED – The Invisible Fabric Of Chemnitz

Data is the new currency. Anything that appears to be free online is paid for by the data companies extract from the individual using the freebie. However, Europe has one of the best data protection laws in the world, shielding individuals from the power of companies. 2.5 trillion bytes of data are created every minute. Every tweet, every meal order, every internet search and every email is part of a data-driven, urban organism.

In the years 2021 to 2023, the multimedia artist Michael Saup will mine the data of Chemnitz and the region and make it possible to see the invisible amounts of this commodity. Together with numerous partners from business, society and science, he will dig for raw data from air and traffic, from factories and gardens collected through sensors. Like a goldsmith, Saup processes the raw material into digital works of art — sound, movement, light and film, which will be incorporated into a performance by the Slovenian artist group Laibach.

For this purpose, augmented reality animations are being installed on a large scale. The digital works, in the form of films, AR and VR, can be accessed with smartphones via QR codes, which can be found as landmarks in various places in the city and region. The codes are made of flowers, grasses and bushes, planted in squares in accessible places and are as transitory as nature itself.


Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003, according to a statement from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt made in the year 2010. These are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day. Every minute of the day, users watch more than 4 million YouTube videos and release more than 3 million searches.

Data has become the new essential building block. Much like dust, data is amorphous: sometimes filtered, sometimes free flowing. Like dust, data passes through us and all around us.


We are overlaying our real cities with invisible virtual cities. Every tweet, food order, Internet search and email is adding a woven pattern into the fabric of this invisible data-driven city-organism. Such unstructured information needs to be curated since vast amounts of data are not comprehensive as the majority of people don’t know how to apply such data and either wouldn’t have the time or inclination to use it.

Therefore we aim to collect and connect data from the city of Chemnitz and establish an artistic platform for monitoring, experiencing and communicating data as meaningful information, converting lifeless information into immersive experiences. Data empowers people: individuals can carry out environmental measurements with low cost sensors and distribute the results on the internet, bringing about a culture of “citizen science” , therefore fostering resident engagement.


As the longterm artistic result, we aim to make the invisble visible by planting and installing large scale QR-codes and overlaying them with with augmented reality city-driven animation in order to map the invisible city and connect the urban with the rural setting. We will employ advertising displays and local newspapers to reveal the social fabric of networked urban space in order to increase data literacy with augmented maps. Releasing unseen geographies of our cities on the canvas of information. Converting data-centric quantitative insights towards emotional immersion and engagement for the viewers and makers.


The petrified forest of Chemnitz in the dedicated Natural History Museum is a rare collective fossil memory, ancient data. Not single trees have been petrified, but a whole collective forest. The forest was a storage for ancient solar rays. energy collected, processed and stored via annual carbon rings. This inpires our work to embed the invisible dymamics of the city of Chemnitz into a large evolutionary window of time ranging from the fossil Permian period to the infossil data-driven future, bridging the old world with the new one, the visible with the invisible.

Connecting the linear pavements with the humming server rooms.

Connecting climate with change.

Connecting change with money.

Connecting  infossil decision trees with the fossil forest.