Drawn from Data

I had spent six months collecting mundane data about my daily habits. I started doing that with no intention of creating any sort of project out of it, but rather to see if there are any patterns in them. I had eventually stopped logging, but was left with a pile of data about myself. Why did I do it, really? What do I do with it now?

Drawn from Data was nearly a year-long endeavour. It is an examination of self-tracking practices and the search for perfection, and a questioning whether all data should always really be interpreted. The project spans an essay, a digital tool to generate images based on daily data, and a series of generated graphics. All these components are collected into a one-off publication.

Editorial Design
Creative Coding
Writing & Editing
Printing & Binding

The book is a collection of generated graphics that represent the daily data. The generator was created with p5.js and uses 180 days worth of my personal logs. Each habit I tracked is represented with a hand-drawn shape which is filled if I succeeded to finish the task at hand that day, and empty if I did not. My sleep schedule is visualised with a gradient bar on the side, the colours vary depending on the times I woke up and went to sleep.

The graphics are not clear to deciphered, not can they be understood intuitively. This decision came as a result of reflecting on my reasonings behind trying to track my habits. Was it to do better? Was it to be more productive? And if so, why am I bringing myself down when I don’t reach the goals I have convinced myself that I am supposed to be reaching in a day? I wanted to use my data not to understand or explain, but to create something nice regardless of the inputs. I used it to represent my day with no further need for dissecting it.

My data became a reflection of me. Could it be enough for it to just exist? I discuss the process and ideas around this project in more detail in Allowing Data to Just Exist.

Early graphic concept and first draft of the publication