Title: Articulating Data Experience: Making Sense of a “Data-Driven(?)” Society
My PhD considers the practices that constitute the type of self-tracking practiced by the Quantified Self. I deem this merits additional consideration given scholastic consensus that self-tracking has technological and cultural precedent and that increasingly digital self-tracking can be encountered by individuals with little to no awareness of the existence of the QS community.
It does so by focusing on what is particular about the space of exchange opened by the Show & Tell format – the characteristic way in which QS Community members share their data experiences with one another. Through this analytical lens it considers both the spaces of knowledge production which the QS Labs (international) community has become more proximate to during my fieldwork in addition to how the QS community shares space with 3rd Party technology actors.
The characteristic practices of QS self-trackers, and the particular affordances of the Show & Tell, are elaborated upon by material drawn from QS Labs events and via participant observation of the QS LDN community. An additional aim of the PhD is to deepen the understanding of QS practice by considering the self-tracking practices of media artists taking the overt intersection of art practice with the space of QS that occurred with the Art of Self-Tracking Exhibition in 2015 (and relating it to a number of other digital art exhibits that occurred prior and subsequent to that exhibition).
Traversing the entire thesis is a concern with understanding these practices as they relate to the abstraction inherent to living in a world increasingly permeated by software of vastly varying scales. This latter contemporary phenomena, presaged by Andreessen’s prediction that ‘software is eating the world’ and Greenfield’s portmanteau of ‘everyware’ is also termed as softwarization, namely:
“The formatting of social life through the use of computational technologies, influencing both the economy and the lifeworld more generally”.[emphasis added] (Berry, 2014, p18)
During the Closing Plenary I provided an overview of philosophy I had engaged in the early part of my research: a treatment of Henri Lefebvre's rhythmanalysis and how it might apply to the activity of self-tracking. I related this theory to near-future technological intersections between QS practice and developing technologies like machine learning. [watch here]
Database researcher role (ETL), assisting YoHa artwork for a public artwork 'Table of Tables', part of the Database Addiction series
Panel moderator at Transmediale 2015, exploring how life is led in conjunction with data systems. With Matthew Plummer Fernandez, Ilaria Biotti, and Andrea Núñez Casal. [read report]