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WEEK 02: FEB 4 2019

Data and Tracking Practices

“Our data contains a virtual if partial version of the self -- a ‘data double’ -- living on servers around the world. When it travels a part of us does too. In this way our data has a social life. It is both personal and political at the same time” - Neff & Nafus, Self-Tracking

"...We learned to pay attention, to live in the present much more, to be more aware of our surroundings..." - Lupi, Dear Data

This week in Quant Humanists, we will focus on practices of self-tracking. We will draw insights from many projects where people have have used self-tracking as a way to make sense of themselves, the world around them, and perhaps to tell a story. We take a look at 5 major categories of self-tracking -- Monitoring & Evaluating, Eliciting Sensations, Aesthetic Curiosity, Debugging a Problem, & Cultivating a Habit -- as outlined by Neff & Nafus in Chapter 3 of Self-Tracking as well as go over some practical considerations for approaching these kinds of tracking. Last, we take a look at some case studies that examine questions of "who wants your data and what do they want to do with it?" focusing specifically on who has access to data.

We will take some time today to also look at what are common data formats we might encounter on our data journies and what we might start to do with data as we get more familiar with what properties they hold.



  • Attendance
  • Assignment reviews
    • paired feedback
    • selected Shareouts & Assignment Reviews:
      • Student 1
      • Student 2
      • Student 3
  • Discussion:
    • Quant Self Projects Reviews Highlights
    • Quick aside: final project seeding 🌱
    • Project Showcase
    • Data Collection and Self-Tracking + Practical Considerations
    • Break
    • Who wants your data and what do they want to do with it?
    • Quick-and-dirty Data Primer
    • Practical example of Generative Visuals for your Data Feelings
  • Assignment #2: Dear Data





ASSIGNMENT 2 (DUE: WEEK 03, 11 FEB 2019): Dear Data

"Drawing with data when data is the final output can be painful - it's laborious, demanding, frustrating." - Lupi, Dear Data

"...the act of counting became something that was emotionally charged" - Posavek, Dear Data

Last week we scoured our tools and services for data that has and is being produced about us whether consciouly or not. This week, we make an effort to be deliberate about our tracking and to "practice paying attention... to strengthen the ability to see what is overlooked" and ultimately to fight what Rob Walker calls, "the war against seeing"; Walker is concerned that companies occupy every corner of our attention leading us to interpret the world on terms invented by the companies.

To do this you will, with a partner, embrace your inner Lupi-Posavek and "Dear Data" a feature of your life that might be illuminated through visualization.

  • About: Using "dear data" as a guide, create a set of rules to visualize your data. Think about the ways in which Georgia and Stefanie parameterized the aspects of their records to produce their visualizations. Find ways to express your own personal style and aesthetic in the implementation of your rules.
  • Submission: Document your process and submit images of your output along with the accompanying description of your visualization and post your Github Gist/blog post link as a comment in its respective github issue in the quant-humanists-2019 repository. See NOTE below.
  • Bring your post cards to class to share!

from the FiveThirtyEight Dear Data Feature:

If you want to take part, keep in mind the basic rules of the Dear Data series:

- The front of your postcard should only feature the visualization.
- On the reverse, include a legend to explain your work.
- You can use any shapes, colors, or materials you want, just as long as it fits on a postcard. But be creative! Can you move beyond a bar chart?

Blog Post: Reflection

NOTE: Please structure your blog post submissions according to the assignment template here: Quant Humanist - assignment template

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