Thursday, April 07, 2022

of data mirrors and a sense of belonging

part of the dataspejlet (data mirror) project at trapholt museum is small piece of personal embroidery. you actually download your data from facebook and your search history from google chrome and send it in to a model/algorithm that the museum has created for the project, and it returns a quadrant diagram with circles on it representing the words that appear most frequently. if you click on the numbered circles, the words change, so you can select the ones you wish to think of while you embroider and create your personal "data mirror." 

i think because the algorithm is surely set to danish, it has returned some weird words for me - like "lov" which is surely actually "love" in my posts and not "promise" if it were danish and the "ll" that's surely from "we'll" and "it'll" and other contractions. i have no idea what the placement of the circles on the quadrant means. 

the museum had kits available in set colors - you get two colors to use, plus white, which you should use for the words that appear a lot, but which you don't want to count in your stitched picture of your data. unfortunately, i didn't get my hands on a kit, not imagining that there were only a few available, but i suppose it makes sense since the artwork can only be the size it can be. i have felt more disappointed than is warranted that i didn't get a kit. i plan to work with the graphs on my own anyway and this way, i get to keep them. and decide to use as many colors as i wish.

and i am getting to participate in the woven part of the work, so i am still a part of the larger work. in my disappointment over not getting a kit, i realized, once again, that being part of a community is important to me. i wanted to see my stitched data mirror in dialogue with all the other stitched data mirrors - to have a visual depiction of how and where i fit in the scheme of things. to contribute to something beautiful that only becomes more beautiful in dialogue with everyone else's work. i feel genuinely sad that i don't get to be part of that. and it triggers that old familiar feeling of being on the outside (i really should get therapy for that).

i think i also wanted something beautiful to come of all that data i stupidly gave to facebook all those years. it was nice to think that something good would come it somehow, when they've used it for nothing but evil and nefarious purposes. 

my chrome history diagram is much less interesting since it's so full of work-related stuff like kitchens (in no less than four languages) and dashboards and the project management software asana - which i visit regularly. i wanted to submit my blog data, but their algorithm couldn't handle the amount of data. i don't think my google visits say that much about me as a private person, but they do say something about me as a work person. 

but i guess that whatever i make of it is for myself. and maybe that's ok. but i would have liked it to be part of something bigger. sigh.


Sandra said...

It's really interesting how we see ourselves. I would never think of you are someone on the outside. You are vibrant, witty and fun. Someone like that is never on the outside as this outsider sees it. Because it makes you sad, I'm sorry you won't be part of the group, but I do love that you will be able to make this purely Julie.

julochka said...

thank you for giving me another perspective on this. i think that both growing up in a small town where belonging mattered too much and living outside my country of birth all these years has made me extra sensitive to whether i belong.