by the PONTE project team.

In the PONTE project, ECZ.Partners and The Cynefin Centre have been collaborating with visual artist Annika Varjonen to combine technology platforms, narrative data and visual art to tackle division and radicalisation in communities. One element of PONTE has been to develop features that points users to content that differs from what they usually see instead of the usual echo-chambers and filter bubbles social media is characterized by these days.
The project utilizes, repurposes and further develops existing software, SenseMaker®. which captures and sorts micro-narratives, but where the respondents apply themselves meaning to their own narrative. Participants make sense of their own social media experience.

With the technological development through PONTE, these micro-narratives can now be catalysed by a piece of visual art, which has shown to trigger different responses, stories and metaphors when compared to plain text prompts. In turn the participants’ responses and micro-narratives build up a rich source of data for the artist to tap into for an interpretation of the reactions. This offers a new artistic interpretation for the participants to delve into, and allows them to review their own thought patterns.

The PONTE story collector around how you see yourself and others when using social media and how mis/information is perceived, is still open. If you are interested in contributing or learning about how this work, please share your own (anonymous(!)) stories here and/or forward this post and invite others to share their stories. The more stories, the better… we will keep you posted on developments and outcomes. You can also contact us.

PONTE project

Image from PONTE story collector

PONTE developments “post-MediaFutures”:

After the end of the MediaFutures support programme, PONTE has been working on the signifier set and artwork for the second follow-up capture, that we will present to the same people and networks that responded to the first round. This will provide us with the opportunity to finetune our method and approaches, and will provide us further insight into the representation of narrative landscapes, and some of the bridging (PONTE) opportunities our art/tech combination can provide.

Furhermore, ECZ.Partners (one of the PONTE startups), developed a follow-up project with the Museum für Werte, involving the City of Lübeck and the involved artist.

Overall, the PONTE has taken a more political participation/climate turn. In fact, several different fields for SenseMaker® application with the art/tech combination are converging: during an Emerge Gathering in Berlin in October 2021 (on societal leadership), members of the PONTE team met representatives from Mehr Demokratie, the largest civil society organisation in Germany (ca. 10’000 members in 2021) for promoting innovative participation and democracy formats as well as representatives from German Zero, advocating for Climate Neutrality, to be enshrined by law.
In both cases, when the PONTE approach was presented, interest focused on the possibility to make narrative landscapes visible through the art approach and above all, be able to tease out the missing narratives. This is of special interest with these groups who conduct an appraisal of the German elections in autumn 2021. One strong emergent realisation was that some of the major/grand narratives (e.g. “move on climate change now for the sake of future generations”) weren’t effective or even totally missing. This is a perfect opportunity for our combination of SenseMaker and Art to tease out the actual narrative landscape(s). We expanded therefore our working group to include also the political participation and climate change-oriented experts for further application of art-based SenseMaker® and Sensemaking.

We are also developing rural revitalisation projects in Italy to understand resident sentiments. The team ran a small test in Tuscany, and also applied for an Erasmus+ Project to develop the use of SenseMaker® and Sensemaking, including art/tech combination in rural revitalisation of small villages (borghi).

Our artist presented PONTE to the Puistokatu 4 Project (Space for hope and Science), initiated by two environmental philanthropic organisations: the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation and the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation.