What is the role of data in our daily lives? I investigated this by 1. tracking my own data and visualizing its multidimensional nature, 2. creating an expressive work that shows the nuances of data usually buried beyond words.
How are you doing? We get asked that question all the time, but in EVERYDAY LIFE we have no single word answer for it. How we feel depends on a set of different propositions we ask ourselves, including but not limited to “am I happy?”, “am I fulfilled?”, and “do I feel loved?” I tracked the multi-dimensionality of this feeling we call “mood” by asking myself questions related to states of well-being throughout the day, in order to create a visualization of this complex quantity that allows us to intuit data from multiple streams, in multiple days, under multiple influences, following a trajectory full of nuanced semantics, all in a single understandable (interactive) display.
I tracked my response to a set of 40 yes/no answers over 18 days (10 times a day), and calculated averages over a subset of these questions and produce measures of my current state, including “forlornness,” “emotional balance,” “activity level,” and “positivity,” the last of which includes all the questions. The sampling produced quantitative values from the binary questions. It is difficult to visualize the evolution of these quantities throughout both a single day and over 18 days of my tracking, so I created a circular plot of the four metrics with 12 o’clock as the beginning of the day and going clockwise as the day proceeds. In the next iteration, in order to make these quantities more concrete, I chose different colors and shapes for their presentation. For example, “emotional balance” is shown as clouds of yellow, because they tend to remain the same throughout the day, and “activity” are shown as circles of green indicating active pursuits. For the subsequent iteration, I created a legend to make the quantities easier to understand, as well as labeled days where large discrepancies arise using the names of the people I was with at the time the measurements were made. I realize the certain folks made my life beautiful, and hence less lonely.
While the paper visualization gave a glance into my mood in a multidimensional visual that provides information on how each day proceeded, it failed to give a sense of the way the data was generated. For the interactive iteration, I made the circles evolve in time so that data is generatively shown at desired speed and size. I also enabled the viewer to filter the quantity they are interested in and play with the data by moving the mouse and clicking on the day of interested. Since each day also contained information on where I was, who I was with, and other variables that may be able to predict mood, I decided to, for the last iteration, show only one circle from day 1 to 18 sequentially, labeling the days where people contributed to my life and mood and plotting their names on a circle within the circle, showing their contribution to my “emotional balance.” The result is a sketch that narrated my “so-called” life as defined by “so-called” quantitative variables that vary in color and size over the course of the collection of the data in 18 days. Perhaps by looking at this 4D visual you get a sense of how my “so-called” mood evolved throughout the process and what people contributed to it.
A poem came from the mind of the poet. From the oral traditions of Homer to the printed paper of the Old English verse, poetry has evolved from a listening-speaking tradition to a physical-symbolic tradition. In our digital age, what is the manifestation of poetry in EVERYDAY LIFE? In attempting to create new media for poetry, I wrote a new poem based on the structure of a classic by Elizabeth Bishop, and used only html and css to show typographic, geometric, and interactive elements that support the semantic of the poetry remix. The new remix is not only based on content, but on showing the extra-poetic nature of language, emphases, influences, hidden messages, and subtle correlations within the poem that allows us to understand and emote it on a new level.
Poetry is no longer a stream of words. It’s an interactive, multidimensional, nuanced work that goes beyond words, embedded within which is data of how to interact with it, what context it’s in, how it’s read, and expression tied to how the poem is viewed. As such one needs to view more than just a poem, but rather variations of the poem in different forms with the same text.