RIG DataDecs / Data Materialization + Quantified/Historical Self

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Russell sent this through — a materialized quantified-self set of Christmas ornaments representing my activities in the online through various services. I got some wonderful “404” ornaments I guess cause the data was not found. Explanations? Well, I don’t last.fm, for no particular reason — or, I guess mostly because there is one DJ in the studio who takes requests and managed to get his computer to stream through the firewall. And as for no Flickr Aperture data — I think I made my camera details and photo location data not shared on Flickr, partially because I got super, duper paranoid last summer and went data/location quiet when I appeared on TMZ’s website and was on their seamy TV show and was not particularly politely pursued (including appearances at my front door) as a biological father to Michael Jackson’s kids. [[Mostly for my own records — but do enjoy if you wish — here is the video of this escapade. ]]

Anyway — thanks Russell + Really Interesting Group. This *Rules*.

Why do I blog this?Well, it’s a great holiday surprise present. Plus, this association between things materialized and things quantified is really significant. This is in the same idiom as Chris Downs perspective on data and its value — he has this perspective that ‘data is the new oil’ — that it has value in some form that can be sold or monetized and he is pursuing the business end of personal data analytics. The reflection of our activities online in something else is quite intriguing. In this case, the Really Interesting Group has turned my data into Christmas ornaments. In other instances, I am certain that folks (Google + all the others) are *securitizing* data and packaging it in various ways — such as lenses that focus and help better position advertising, which is valuable to someone, but much less interesting to us here in the Laboratory and, it would seem, much less interesting to the Really Interesting Group. To capture a nice idiom that has been mistakenly directly attributed to Bruno Latour but is in fact stated by Edwin Hutchins in his wonderful book Cognition in the Wild

..artifacts came to embody kinds of knowledge that would be exceedingly difficult to represent mentally.

[[p. 96]]

That is, ’tis better in some circumstances to make the data tangible than ’tis to not do so. The embodiment of data in physical, material form gives it a different kind of legibility. How else can you make your data hang on a Christmas tree?

(Looks like Preoccupations also received one.)

One thought on “RIG DataDecs / Data Materialization + Quantified/Historical Self”

  1. Very intriguing! I would love to see this used within a persuasive context. For example, imagine quantifying data about a persons vices (i.e. smoking / drinking) and displaying this to help persuade someone to change their habits. I can imagine many more use cases for this! Keep up the great work!

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