Laurie Frick Experiments in Self-Tracking
Have you ever thought of what’s known about you, the super-secret stuff? Like think credit card think your subway card. I started making a list and realized you know it was actually more rich, and compelling, and interesting than even I could remember and I thought I have a new motto; don’t hide, get more.
So I’m a data artist and I make work from self-tracking data, and it’s all hand built, it’s handmade. It’s mostly about myself, but the story really started just about four years ago and I had this sense that time had shifted, something had really changed.
You know, Linda Stone described it as continuous partial attention and I’ve been making work based on time and I had imagined time and and I thought I should really figure out how to actually track this. You know and you start and it is so hard.
So I googled it and right about that time I found Ben Lipkowitz who if you haven’t look him up. He is beloved. Every minute for over 24 hours for ears he has generously put online and I was like holly crap, this looks exactly the way I had been imagining time.
So I scrapped all of his data and I started making these hand-cut pieces based on you know the sense of time. But I wanted to really measure something about me, my time. You know and I knew that sensors are going to be in the clothes we wear and because I have a background in tech it was going to be really simple, and easy and the sensors are going to be small, you know ingestible and wearable. And so you know let me you know figure out a way to make this easy and I started by measuring sleep and you do nothing right. you strap this thing on and you go to sleep, and I was, I was kind of amazed because sleep and measuring sleep was a lot like waking time. It was all these little slivers of five and 10 minutes.
And I got this chance to see something about me that was hidden and unseen and it was you know really different that I hadn’t thought of myself. I thought I was a really good sleeper and it turned out I wasn’t.
So I created this whole rule system and started to make a lot of work based on sleep right, and every color has meaning, and color relates to data, and color has emotion and I thought this was crap and got to measure more. And I started measuring anything that was easy. I mean I went kind of nuts. You know, for several years I had 900 nights of sleep and I started measuring everything. And I looked at the patterns in the data, and started to see them as meaningful and beautiful and they felt familiar, they felt like me and I thought maybe this data is portraiture, portraiture of me. And you know, what if I turned that data into right textured walls and intelligent wallpaper, and I thought about the future that if we lived with data that was of us, and maybe it could even be on our iPhone.
And I started experimenting with creating hand drawn patterns on an actual iPhone and I have the beta test. I have got office hours, just after this, and the app is going to be free, but it’s me as an artist trying to figure out how to make art from data, and make it beautiful, and meaningful, and give it away.
And you know as much as we talk about self-tracking about being about fitness or health, I think it’s about identity. I think it’s about us. It’s about seeing something meaningful in who we are.
I have this sense that as we track we talk about – I think we are at the very front edge, but I think the self-tracking is going to turn into who are my. I’m particularly curious about anticipating her I am, seeing what comes next.
And so you know, as an artist I think that data is going to be the way that we understand who we are, why hide from it. So back to the beginning, my motto, don’t hide go get more.