Dear Data - two women, one in England, the other in America - correspond once a week using physical postcards on a agreed-upon topic. A celebration of communication, point of view, personal filters and visualization
from the about:
Each week we collect and measure a particular type of data about our lives, use this data to make a drawing on a postcard-sized sheet of paper, and then drop the postcard in an English “postbox” (Stefanie) or an American “mailbox” (Giorgia)!
Eventually, the postcard arrives at the other person’s address with all the scuff marks of its journey over the ocean: a type of “slow data” transmission.
By creating and sending the data visualizations using analogue instead of digital means, we are really just doing what artists have done for ages, which is sketch and try to capture the essence of the life happening around them. However, as we are sketching life in the modern digital age, life also includes everything that is counted, computed, and measured.
We are trying to capture the life unfolding around us, but instead we are capturing this life through sketching the hidden patterns found within our data.
So far we’re having a lot of fun while we learn about our own and each other’s lives – and we’re also trying to get better at drawing in the process!
We’ve also noticed that the data collection and visualization process has become a sort of performance and ritual in our lives, affecting our days and weeks, and inherently changing our behaviour.
But really, we also started this project to show how “data” is not scary, is not necessarily “big”, and that you need to know almost nothing about data to start collecting and representing it (just a pencil, a notebook and a postcard!)
Every week we choose a topic we want to explore about our days and lives, and on Monday start our separate-but-parallel data collection.
The data-collecting ends the evening of the following Sunday, and through the course of the following week we analyse our data and draw our postcard, all the while collecting the next dataset.
On Monday we scan and drop our data postcard into the mailbox/postbox and start to plan the next week’s drawing!