Sunday, April 27, 2008

Proposal for Final Project

Proposal for Final Project

This semester, I have been challenged by the process of translating ideas into visual metaphor. It is a new skill for me, and I feel that I've advanced significantly, though, at least in that I'm starting to ask the right questions about my thinking.

I was intrigued by some of the projects and sketches this semester that dealt with physicality-- Sohin's string idea comes to mind, as does What the World Eats, which Kate pointed out to us.

So, I thought for my final project, I'd consider exploring the process of how conceptual metaphors of social processes are built up by starting "from scratch"-- with actual physical data-- and then thinking about how to record it and how to metaphorically represent it.

I think by watching things physically accumulate and decay, I will be able to better understand how the same elements might function visualized and digitized.

This desire start with physical objects reminds me of those math manipulatives that kids like me were given to in elementary school when we didn't quite "get" math the first time around.



For example, instead of just recording everything I'd eaten for one day, I wonder how actually aggregating all that food, as in What the World Eats, would help me think about how to represent that data. The physical look of it, the way that physicality changes shape, size, weight as I consume it and create debris. This kind of aggregation could serve as the basis both a personal timeline and a data portrait.

Imagine what this food would look like after all the consumables have been consumed. What does the debris tells us about the passage of time? About the pairings of the foods? About the social nature of meals and eating?


But, as we talked about in the the data portraiture class, choosing how-- which data and how much of it-- to represent a subject is an important aspect of portraiture. I do not think that, in my case, that one week's worth of food would answer the kinds of questions I am most interested in.

The first thought was to create an aggregation space for everything-- everything that I used, interacted with, needed, wanted, consumed, would be trapped in the room.


That, of course, is too broad. At the same time, I wouldn't want to become so narrow that the physical data lost all saliency (no matter how beautiful that might be).


Tara Donovan, Untitled (toothpicks)

Phoebe Washburn, True, False, and Slightly Better

So, in thinking about the physical debris of my social interactions, I finally settled on what my boyfriend likes to refer to as "the heap."
(not my heap, but a heap)

Approximately once a week, I start with a clean room, all my clothes clean and "filed" into their proper closets and drawers. Then, the over the course of the week, a heap grows. I try on multiple items of clothes, discarding them for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they make me feel fat or otherwise ugly. Sometimes new inspiration leads me to choose a shirt of a different color. Sometimes I hear the weather forecast too late in the process.

The clothing heap is relevant to the sociable media focus of this course not just because it is an organically formed dataset in my life that may indicate the passage of time and/or serve as a data portrait, but because it represents the processes through which I present myself in public. This exploration could lead to further work in between understanding how other private/personal data (media consumption, etc.) is selected for public presentation.

In order to avoid the "brand name list" issue that we've talked about in class, I will physically tag each item, each time I try it on, according to emotional and situational data. What were the circumstances of the discard of the garment? Do those circumstances change for each item item from day to day? I might also keep running track of this data in digital format-- perhaps use or just a spreadsheet.

After a week, I will sort the garments according to the following (tentative) categories and take photographs of the resulting piles:
type of garment
color of garment
chronology of time tried on
number of times tried on
items eventually worn vs. not worn
number of times worn
situational emotional tags (reason not worn and other self-folkosonomical (selfsonomical? idiosyncratonomical?)categories that may emerge?)

The resulting photographs will provide an opening for a thinking about how that data can best be represented visually and metaphorically. I can then dump the data in a database and see what kinds of charts and graphs emerge computationally. A comparison and contrast between the computational results and the photographs (and my own experience of the physical data) will generate a new understanding of the tensions that emerge from mediation of social processes.

My own on-going research is mainly anthropological/qualitative/ethnographic, so this is also an interesting meditation on method. How is the real-time tagging different from the retrospective analysis? How is the physical manipulation different from the the computer-mediated recording? What affordances does each approach offer?

40 comments:

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119 said...

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730A_ngelinaRabideau0 said...

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人生最大的榮耀,不是永遠不敗,而是屢仆屢戰........................................

huntb said...

Necessity is the mother of invention...................................................................

玫友 said...

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俊賢 said...

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陳隆 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」......................................................................

韋以韋以 said...

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江婷 said...

Pen and ink is wits plough.................................................................

吳婷婷 said...

It takes all kinds to make a world.............................................................

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孟湖聿軒 said...

Make yourself necessary to someone..................................................................

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于庭吳 said...

不會從失敗中找尋教訓的人,成功之路是遙遠的。.................................................

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舒夏怡 said...

困難的不在於新概念,而在於逃避舊有的概念。......................................................................

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