Quantified Self

Faculty: Marius Watz & Antoni Kaniowski
Dates: July 15-26th.
Cost: 10,000dkk (approx: 1300Euro)
Apply: Here

Week 1 – Self-Ethnography: You are Big Data

The last 10-years has seen data take on radically new roles in society, escaping the confines of the research lab to become an agent of change in all areas of our lives.

“Big Data” is now a crucial (if overhyped) tool for the analysis and optimization of business practices, while witty “infographics” have become popular cultural artifacts for the proliferation of ideas. Thanks to social networks like Facebook and Twitter even our social interactions have now become data streams, effortlessly searchable and quantifiable.

Data is also a social good, a raw material for the production of knowledge, with the potential to affect real change. For the digital creative, this cornucopia of data presents exciting new possibilities, from the creation of interactive data visualizations and agit-pop infographics, to data-driven design processes with parametric design models for mass customized output.

To work in this way requires an understanding of data as a design parameter to be molded and exploited like any production tool or physical material. But first we must become data literate, learning how data is collected, stored and analyzed, as well as what tools may be applied to it to produce possible results.

This week we will learn the fundamentals of data by looking at a data source close to home, namely ourselves.

In our digital and physical lives we are data-producing machines, with everything from our digital network interactions to our travel habits and our schedules of food, sleep and exercise providing ample material for tracking and analysis. Each participant will choose some type of personal activity to monitor and analyze, learning something about the obsessiveness of the data-driven world view in the process.

Once collected, we will look at how data can be visualized. Processing will be our primary tool for visualization, allowing us to exploit the power of computation to do statistical analysis and help us generate custom visuals by mapping properties found in the data set to suitable visual structures that simultaneously clarify and illuminate the ideas we wish to communicate.

Week 2 – Data sculpture: Digital fabrication and the rise of data-driven mass-customized objects

The second week will build on our experience with data so far, extending it beyond screen-based visuals to look at a very different form of representation: Physical spaces and objects, produced using digital fabrication technologies like laser cutting and 3D printing.

A 100%-digital creative workflow allows us to imagine objects as virtual computational constructs, the output of rule-based software processes where geometry is generated controlled by given parameters. This allows for data-driven on-demand output of custom models, while facilitating the generative systems as a creative tool.

This week we will look at useful tips for working with the digital fabrication tools on hand at CIID, including craft-related techniques for using a “flat” technology like a laser cutter to produce spatial structures. Through experimentation we will discover creative strategies that work well in 3D space as well as how to deal with issues of scale and presentation.

Again, Processing will be our main tool, allowing us to design the parametric model that will produce our object’s geometry. The forms are then exported as as PDF vector graphics or 3D models for fabrication. Often a model might consist of many parametrically constructed individual pieces, requiring hand-assembly that evoke older traditions of craft. But make no mistake, the extrusion of data from a digital state of immateriality and into tangible physical form is a very new thing indeed.