Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
The quantified self as a hologram of the past
I love Craig Mod’s writing, and Paris and the Data Mind is another great piece. It starts off as an article about Fitbit, and more broadly, the Quantified Self (“a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on most aspects of a person’s daily life”). But it quickly expands to an essay about memory in the age of data that never disappears:
I think of our check-ins, our food photos, our tagged friends. I think of our steps, our Fuel Points. I think of the myriad and nearly endless streams of data—data now actively collected but becoming increasingly passive. I think of all this and I can’t help but see a hologram projected somewhere off in the distance. A reconstitution of something, someone, miles away, years out. […]
How specific and formful our collections—these collections that constitute our selves—have become. Still not entirely whole, but closer than they’ve ever been. We play them back—literally, scrolling out timelines. A life of thoughts, granular GPS, and time-coded data. Holograms of ourselves, transparent and broken, from another time and place. They skip like a worn record, or a dusty movie reel, with pieces missing here and there. But they are us, however scratchy, and their resolution increases daily.
This theme has come up quite a bit recently — how the Internet prevents memories from fading. Craig ends up challenging the idea that unforgotten memories are necessarily a good thing.