I’m playing with this fantasy future where all the spaces you live will have wall texture and patterns built from data about YOU. Where ‘fantasy future’ are the operative words. This doesn’t actually work yet, and I have to bridge the gap using art-world science. And I think there is something magical and crucial that these patterns are physical….yes, generated digitally, but physical texture you can touch and know is real…not digital pixels.
So, I’ve begun to find my way to actually make laser cut pieces that can be WALL size. For regular people, laser cutters have size limitations that are maybe 18 or 24 inches on the short side and only 32 or 48 inches on the long side. Here I stitched together GPS walking tracks, fitbit steps and cumulative data from a week walking around my neighborhood in Brooklyn. All gathered, and drawn…using a little magic with illustrator vector files and cut from Rives BFK printmaking paper on a laser cutter while I was at NYU ITP summer camp. I used a sewing machine to sew them together…this piece is about
While at NYU’s ITP camp this summer (it’s the graduate program for art+technology) am on a mission to investigate 3D printing. Am convinced the walls in the spaces we live will be textured by our self-tracking data produced by 3D printers and laser cutters. Physical patterned texture from digital data.
Have been imagining and fantasizing about how insightful data about ourselves….bio data, self-quantified, but also our physical movement and virtual movement through the online world will be reproduced easily and almost real-time. It’s a way to watch our unconscious behavior and understand ourselves. Because we both don’t pay attention in the first place, and then forget.
And here is a thoughtful piece about how 3D printing is just the beginning of making digital technology in the physical world that learns to grow like biological organisms. Neri Oxman from MIT media lab – likens the growth of 3D printing to the democratization of the printing press and moveable type. Totally right.
Random incoming email yesterday from James Showalter, who writes a thoughtful blog about evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology and it’s force on culture.Barbaric Rage & Love Totally worth clicking, one of the best things he does is keep a list of books and articles, which I’ve never had the discipline to compile. Plus frequent updates and posts…at it about 6 months – hope he keeps it up. Very cool.
Love it when you find people spending tons of personal energy toward something high-quality that pays absolutely no $$. Restores faith in human-kind. .
Here’s a little promo for him. Go take a look, and keep an eye out, he’s writing a novel.
Very soon, all the data about us will be easily and invisibly tracked via sensors in our clothes, and little patches we stick on our skin. But then WHAT? You’ve got to have a way to extrapolate, summarize, compare and deliver a quick portrait of how you’re doing and what it means. I think pattern is the answer. And physical texture (hello 3D printers!) will be the way to produce little art objects quickly, easily, disposably.
This 12in x 12in has a moodjam chart, pointcare plot of heart rate variability, 8 nights of REM and deep sleep and daily upset stomach scores. Encoded in a language that you begin to read and understand.
I’ve been working for several years on the premise that eventually neuroscience will find a relationship between visual patterns you experience in the world and an innate or embedded neural pattern in your mind. I have no desire to sound nutty. But as an artist I get a little leeway here. Researchers are describing their quest for mapping neural brain wiring….the connectome, much like mapping human DNA the human genome. The belief is that eventually with computer assisted analysis and electron microscopes, the billions of neural connections…the wiring of the mind can be mapped.
If the recall of a memory is stored in a series of neural connections, then the pattern and location of synaptic spikes could be captured, decoded and replayed. What if we eventually understand that the desire to see and anticipate patterns in the world….are not so different than the unique neural patterns in our mind. Memory and the feel of memory is captured as pattern in time. I think there is a relationship, and am excited to see the new images of Connectome mapping of the C. elegans (worm) and one neural muscle of a mouse.
Installing the show at Edward Cella in Los Angeles this week. In addition to the 4 collage pieces in the show based on self-tracking data — I built a 12 ft by 12 ft wall ‘Moodjam’ based on tracking your mood in color. Made from 5000 Abet Laminati, italian countertop samples I found at the recycle center (and after I ran out the president of this company kindly sent me more). Based on the premise that not so far in the future a combination of facial recognition, GSR (galvanic skin response) and HRV (heart rate variability) will be able to automatically capture and assess your stress, nervousness, and general mood. I manually track my mood most every day at my friend Ian Li’s site www.moodjam.com . Try it, it’s more accurate than you’d imagine.
Show opens on Saturday Feb 11. If you’re anywhere in Los Angeles before end of March 2012, totally worth a visit. Edward Cella on Wilshire, directly across from LACMA. Tim Hawkinson (loooooong time favorite artist) and Lynn Aldrich, amazing sculpture are the 3 artist exhibiting in this show. ‘Death and Life of an Object”.
I’m convinced the way we unconsciously slice our time reflects the underlying structure of our mind. I began self-tracking as a way to measure and then reverse engineer the unique pattern of ourselves. I believe there is something comforting and compelling about human metrics and realized I was not alone. Many, many people measure something about themselves every day.
Have been thinking about a high-tech future where everything can be easily captured and significantly added to my daily measurement in order to build a patterned language for self-tracking. What if walls could eventually produce ambient patterns of how we’re doing, where we subtly adjust behavior in response to those measurements? The installation at Women & their Work is an experiment to test out this idea. I’ll also talk about a ton of ways to use current gadgets to measure yourself, and how it all makes its way into my art practice.
Photo credit. Image of me above is from Leon Alesi’s Personal Space project. See more of them here. Great work.
The work pulls from my background in engineering and high-technology to explore science, human pattern and self-tracking.
Very soon, all the data about us will be easily and invisibly tracked via sensors in our clothes and little patches we stick on our skin. But then WHAT? You’ve got to have a way to extrapolate, summarize, compare and deliver a quick portrait of how you’re doing and what it means. Big data about me is meaningless if it can’t give me a picture that is compelling and something I want to see.
Combine personal data with a mix of complex environmental data to produce visual patterns of individual human behaviour – a human fingerprint in patterns that are beautiful and recognizable. Notice shifts and deviation in routine. A rules-based algorithm to represent human patterns of time, stress, movement, mood gathered from a range of sensors embedded in the phone and on the body (fitbit, zeo, manic-time, open-paths, and more). Rather than infographics, the output patterns are understandable and feel like art, built from libraries of hand-drawn objects.
Data …meets art….meets 3D printing
Numbers are abstract concepts but we recognize pattern intuitively. I’m experimenting with wall size patterns that anticipate the condition of our daily-selves. What if the walls and spaces we occupied were filled with easy to decode patterns -- a visual record of how we're doing. Reinforcing, maybe anticipating, but definitely responding to all the data collected about you.
Textured, patterned spaces that are subtle, updated, recycled in physical form.... data meets hand-built art using technologies of laser cutting and 3D printing.
I’ve been thinking about a future where everything can be instantly measured and significantly added to my daily regimen to test a patterned vocabulary and grammar for self-tracking. Steps walked, calories expended, weight, sleep, time-online, GPS tracks, daily mood as color, food ingested are all part of my daily tracking -- simple and easy to collect using gadgets that point toward a time where complete self-surveillance is the norm.
What I know so far is that a daily habit of measuring and tracking adds weight and a sense of being in the world. And I believe the old-adage ‘you can’t change that which you don’t measure’.
I don’t think self-tracking is OCD, or sinister, or eliminates the mystery of life. Soon, tracking sensors will be invisibly embedded in how we live, the data will be OURS, and we’ll look back and can’t believe there was a time when our genome and DNA wasn't used as our base-line for everything we ingest.
I’m convinced the way we unconsciously slice our time, waking and sleeping reflects the underlying structure of our mind. Capturing time-based activities is a way to reverse-engineer subtle underlying brain rhythms. Each work and installation I make is an experiment to find the exact resonant rhythm which tracks the underlying spaces and neural patterns of our mind. Not a total fantasy, this follows from an emerging theory in neuroscience.
More about Sleep
All the good stuff happens while you sleep. If you’re sick, you heal. You build procedural memory, grow taller, resolve conflict, reorder and organize all long-term memory. Recently I’ve learned you dream in all stages, not just REM sleep. I’ve been measuring my nightly sleep using a ZEO eeg headband for almost 3 years and have in excess of 800 nights of sleep data. There is a definite pattern to the brainwaves, with much more activity than you’d imagine. It’s ragged with shorter bursts of deep sleep and REM sleep than I thought. I wake up a lot. My brain is pretty busy during sleep -- clearly, sleep rhythms are not so different than waking rhythms.