While I love technology I’ve been most interested in the experience of tracking personal data. The one advantage an artist has over a scientist is that an artist can unapologetically use themselves for insight, for research, sample size N=1. An artist is encouraged to pay attention to themselves, it is part of our job description. There is a history and tradition of artists and writers anticipating a phenomenon that years later is scientifically verified and proven. “Go for it”, I thought.
More drawings, more art cut and made from data, hours spent studying and reviewing relationships between types of data. Did patterns of sleep relate to number of steps, when did city weather have an effect, if I had an upset stomach what else was affected? Then I stepped back to just think about abstract patterns the data revealed. Soon my studio was filled with cut and textured patterns. Walls filled with my personal data that stayed on the studio walls for months. I liked it. They felt like me, human, personal, reassuring. Oddly recognizable.
“Why couldn’t everyone have abstract patterns of their personal data fill their walls” I thought? Perhaps seeing the abstract patterns and rhythms of your self-tracking data is a short-cut to mindfulness, a quick and dirty way to boost your immune system.