How do we ….really count and translate numbers?

Laser cut drawing of upset stomach 22" x 30" | Laurie Frick

Have been working hard on the concept of a unique patterned language for self-tracking. There has to be a metaphorical language that translates primal patterns of ourselves. Something far from data visualization or graphical output of data.

I think the way to come at this is to find a more instinctual approach to numerical cognition. Read about the Amazon tribe that can only count to five – we learn linear representation of numbers from using rulers, tape measures and simple arithmetic….turns out our brains can accurately recognize one, two, three and then it gets fuzzy.  Large numbers are totally abstract in our heads, a million, a billion…how many trillion was the (fill-in the blank) war/bailout/deficit?

Young kids estimate numbers on something closer to a logarithmic scale, small quantities are far apart, and then large numbers squish together as they get larger.  Just read ‘Number Sense: how the mind creates mathematics-updated’ by S. Dehaene – he is THE GUY for numerical cognition.  And Alex Bellos “Here’s looking at Euclid’ – interesting, easy ….reads like a Malcolm Gladwell book.

We humans look for patterns, like puzzles, have an intuition for simple arithmetic – there has to be a more intuitive way to convey personal tracking data about ourselves than the line charts and graphs that the gadget companies serve up.


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  • Short-short Statement

    The work pulls from my background in engineering and high-technology to explore science, human pattern and self-tracking.

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