DITTO: a strategy for new data landscapes

Matteo Franti

Matteo Franti works at the threshold between architecture and visual research, investigating the spatial consequences of the contemporary technological rise. Focusing on the blurred boundaries between the digital and the physical, he makes use of tools of representation spanning from architectural drawings to animation.
He graduated from Politecnico di Milano in 2021 with DITTO, a master thesis investigating the impact of data in spatial terms and proposing an alternative data flow infrastructure in the city of Milan.

Landscape has often been considered the counterpart to cityscape and the condition it represents. This sentiment, widely diffused until the half of the XX Century, contributed to the stereotyping of the countryside-city dualism, with the former comprising values of tradition and life in harmony with a non-better-specified nature, and the latter standing for progress and technological advancement - a dogma of major sociologists such as Durkheim, Tönnies and Simmel.

Today, the dualism between cityscape and landscape is ever more ambiguous: countryside is the territory where numerous revolutions, spatial alterations and silent yet irreversible shifts are happening, while the city is seemingly more and more unable to tackle timely urgencies. Infrastructure is probably the more evident aspect connotating landscape, especially in Italy. Information historian Paul N. Edwards refers to it as something we don’t notice as long as it works: it sits in the background as ordinary as trees, dirt and daylight. Infrastructure is landscape.

Digital infrastructure innervates the Italian countryside more than any other system (fiber optic cables amounted in 2018 to twenty times the length of the total amount of municipal, regional streets and highways in Italy). However, as diffused and ubiquitous as it may seem, digital infrastructure is fixed along established routes depending on pragmatic reasons such as cost of the land, low-seismic risk and proximity to other vital systems. This contributes to the physical and digital confinement of small rural nucleuses, which end up being just a transit node for major fiber optic backbones passing by.

DITTO is a strategy for constructing local and diffused mesh networks as tools for defining personal and conscious relationships with the digital tools shaping more and more aspects of our lives. Questioning the established way in which data is used and extracted can serve as an empowerment tool for rural communities to determine their own landscape.

 Assume There’s a Landscape is a collective work investigating the non-urban realm                Assume There’s a Landscape is a collective work investigating the non-urban realm                 Assume There’s a Landscape is a collective work investigating the non-urban realm