Recounter

2016 / Data Visualization Application / MSc Dissertation

Recounter is a desktop application that transforms self-tracking data in artworks. These artworks may only be read and interpreted by the data’s owner and creator.

This project is my Design + Multimedia master's dissertation, supervised by Penousal Machado and Eduardo Nunes. You can read more about it here and here.

As said before, Recounter is a desktop application that transforms self-tracking data in artworks, so each artwork maps personal data collected by the user.

All visualizations have a similar foundation portraying the passive data (background information gathered by the phone’s sensors). This information includes: localization, weather, noise, steps, photos, battery and internet connection.

So, by comparison methods, when we analyse someone else’s artwork, we are able to understand that the person in question walked more or less in a certain day of the month, or that a certain day was colder or warmer than other, for example.

The visualizations become more complex and personal when we start to map active data, i.e., non-standard data, gathered through questions. This questions are set by the user and are asked several times a day — e.g. “how many coffees did you drink today?”, “who are you with right now?”. Like this, the information is transformed into subjective artworks, and it is up to the user, knowing his/her questions and most common answers/routines, to decode them.

We decided to represent this information through a system of symbols, in which each type of possible answer (token, yes/no, multiple choice, person or number) has a specific kind of graphic representation.

Thanks to the combination of standard and non-standard data, it is easy to recognize that 2 different artworks belong to 2 different people.

In the following picture it is possible to see 4 artworks from 4 different people.

This project resulted in an application built with Processing that receives JSON files exported from Nicholas Felton's Reporter App. With this application we generated artworks that were posteriorly printed into a set of postcards and a booklet.

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