Quantified Self Assignment

For the purposes of this assignment, we will think about the “quantified self movement” as a network of complementary technologies and practices: fitness trackers, self-help diagnostics, gamification, augmented memory, photoblogging, gaming stats, and so on. Anything that involves passively or actively collecting text, sound, images, or data about one’s life over a period of time, to be shared, analyzed, or simply preserved fits within this network of technologies and practices.

There are three elements to this assignment: an analytical element, a visualization element, and a narrative element.

1. Analytical. Pick at least four of the following readings from the syllabus. Use them to understand and analyze the meaning and role of personal data analytics against the larger backdrop of data culture. Your essay should organized around a thesis, and be a clear and precise 500-750-words.

  • Klein on archives and visualization
  • Raley on dataveillance
  • Mejias on networks
  • Boesel on data occupations
  • Petersen on Big Mother
  • Pedersen on augmented memory

2. Visual. Using quantified self data provided to us by R65 labs and other sources, create a series of three or four visualizations about that data that make an argument. Keep in mind lessons learned from the readings on data visualization (Tufte, etc.) about what makes a good visualization. You can use any number of tools for the visualizations: Excel, Tableau, Gephi, Piktochart.

3. Narrative. This is a 500-word personal response to the notion of the quantified self. It can take the form of an op-ed, a philosophical inquiry, humor or satire, or another narrative form. In any case, the narrative should be lively, focused, and shareable.

All three components of this assignment are due by class time, Thursday April 2. Submit the material through Moodle.

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