Dear Data 2019 – Week 6, Physical Contact

Week 6 postcards of the data project Sarah Bartlett and I are working on are here and I couldn’t be more excited. The theme of week 6 was physical contact.

During the original project Giorgia and Stefanie tracked people they touched and who touched them, but I decided to switch things up and include my cats. Since I primarily work from home I figured it was a great opportunity to add in additional data elements. I was also genuinely curious to see at the end of the week who gets the most physical affection from me in my house.

I used IFTTT again to track touches and set up buttons on my phone to represent the 5 major buckets I was likely to encounter: my husband, my cats, family/friends, and strangers. I chose to only represent intentional touches and those that I gave – making data collection a bit less awkward.

Here’s my postcard:

Dear Data 2019 – Ann’s week 6, physical contact
Dear Data 2019 – Ann’s week 6, physical contact (legend)

Cutting to the chase, the bar chart on the back of the postcard clearly indicates that I give out most of my affection to Starly.

Starly interfering with work

Focusing back on the design of the postcard, this week I wanted to continue to push the boundaries and go further into an abstract representation of data. The postcard started out as a 10 x 10 grid that was going to have clearly defined borders for each individual square. The design continued to morph as I started using metallic pen markers that made the edges softer and revealed something I hadn’t considered, the connected blocks (Tetris pieces) of touches. Through the imprecision of my drawing what was originally a very strict grid turned into a more quilt-like representation of my week.

As two last design elements, I chose to outline the entire pattern with pink – no data elements represented there, but I felt that it completed the transformation that the data took on. And then one cognition piece was adding on dots to help read the grid appropriately, left to right and top down.

Although the data revealed what I had suspected, visually seeing how connected and integrated my pets are into my life and well-being has been extremely impactful. It’s a reminder of the companionship they offer and of our shared affection.

Here’s Sarah’s postcard:

Dear Data 2019 – Sarah’s week 6, physical contact
Data 2019 – Sarah’s week 6, physical contact (legend)

I love this design by Sarah. She managed to take a data subject and turn it into a complete picture. I especially like how she chose 3 specific types of touches, hugs, kisses, and handshakes – and then how they correspond to different social circles. It’s amazing when counting the petals how sacred physical contact is to those closest to us vs. colleagues and other outer circle individuals.

And that’s a wrap on the week – save one last off topic thought I had. After crafting my postcard I couldn’t help but think that it looked similar to some other artwork I’ve seen before.

Patchwork vs. Postcard

Although I’m probably biased on creating the connection, I enjoyed the idea that the game had somehow influenced the final drawing.

A new blue box!

Don’t forget to check out Sarah’s take on the week!

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