Data are emotions

Data are important elements of our reality. On the surface, they seem to be dull and impassive. In practice, they are able to evoke extreme emotions and create a strong aesthetic and intellectual experience.

Analysts have unique intuition when dealing with data. According to Michał Witkowski, Lead Game Economy Designer at Rage Quit Games, “analysts provide people with both data and emotions.” How should data be presented to us, touched or felt to trigger these emotions? Visualization is one of possible approaches to finding meaning and understanding data—it is not the final solution but a means to an end. Figures take on an intermediate form, which enables calculations, but communication requires  transformation of data into visualizations or other forms of narrative.

Data visualization is the strategy employed by Mikołaj Czyż, psychotherapist, who has developed a dynamic visualization of the links between addictions and emotions. Data are often perceived as objective entities, as opposed to emotions experienced by people. “Some decisions are made based on intuition“—says Piotr Migdał, Data Scientist. “In general, our intuition is completely unreliable. Data processing helps to draw attention to what is really important.” By making decisions based on data we can change the world as well as optimize our lives, improve health and well-being, and even build self-awareness. Data can also shape the form. Richard Vijgen designed an artist-device, the WiFi Impressionist, which paints electromagnetic landscapes, analyzing data coming from abstract and incorporeal WiFi signals.

Katja Trinkwalder and Pia-Marie Stute write in their commentary to the project that “each of us owns a small treasure—a resource that is discreetly mined by the biggest companies in the world.” This is our private data, gathered and then used by corporations. The awareness of this process raises very negative emotions, mainly anger and fear. This attitude is very common, especially among people who do not deal with the analysis of large and diverse data pools—as “the less we know, the more we are afraid.” Meanwhile, there are already places where anxiety has been replaced by acceptance and peace, and—one might even say—love. Estonia is such an example. “Data is the lifeblood flowing through our veins”—according to the official statement of the authorities of this small, but fully digitalized state.








Emotions are born at the interface between the recipient and data. Emotions are never embedded in the data themselves.

Prof. Ryszard Tadeusiewicz, AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow








2015

Why am I doing this

Mikołaj Czyż, Poland


Reflecting on your own behavior and substance abuse may help you to handle the problem better. The aim of the “Why am I doing this” project is to address the problem and build an awareness of one’s own needs, as well as to provide data on the phenomena related to addiction.

Addictions and related data arouse strong emotions. Reflecting on your own behavior and substance abuse may help you to handle the problem better. The aim of the project “Why am I doing this” is to address the problem and build an awareness of one’s own needs, as well as to provide data on the phenomena related addiction. The visualization takes the form of a circle with black and red circles of different diameters inside. There are connections between them. The perimeter of the main circle lists addictive substances and behaviors, e.g. cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, but also sugar, pornography, shopping and food. Moving clockwise along this perimeter we find out which of these substances and behaviors are the most common. Black inner circles represent unwanted experiences that we want to eliminate through the use of addictive substances or behaviors, e.g. stress, boredom, loneliness. These are the causes of addictions. Red inner circles represent positive experiences we hope to achieve thanks to addictive substances or behaviors, e.g. pleasure, peace, satisfaction. This is what addicts want to achieve. The diameters of the circles correspond to the frequency of individual experiences. We can see networks of connections between the words on the perimeter and the emotions inside the main circle. The width of the connections between a substance or behavior and a particular experience represents the relative frequency of the experience in relation to the substance.

Data and emotions are means of cognition. By reflecting and penetrating each other, they provide insight into the complexity of the world.

Mikołaj Czyż

The relationship between data and emotions is like the eternal battle between the heart and mind—a cycle of action and reaction. If we eliminate the influence on either side, it will end in a disaster. It is therefore necessary to strive for harmonious coexistence, where all extremes are excluded.

Arek Stokłosa

2020

Workplace safety wearable

Estimote | Arek Stokłosa, Poland


W obliczu pandemii powstało wiele rozwiązań, które mają na celu powstrzymywać rozprzestrzenianie się koronawirusa. Jest to szczególnie użyteczne In the face of the pandemic, many solutions have been developed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This is particularly useful for jobs that have to be done despite the threat. If one of the employees contracts the disease, the app sends information to those who have been in contact with them.

In the face of the pandemic, many solutions have been developed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Workplace Safety Wearable is based on micro-location technology and is dedicated for companies and workplaces. Specially prepared wearables precisely measure the position of a person or object in the workplace. The interactions and the total time of potential exposure to the virus are anonymously recorded in the database. This creates a network of points of contact as potential areas for infection. If one of the employees becomes ill, the relevant data—the patient’s interactions, including the time and names of the exposed persons—are decoded from the database. The workers at risk are alerted to an epidemiological hazard through their device. As a result, the further spread of the coronavirus within an organization can be effectively blocked. The premises are then quarantined, thus eliminating the possibility of the virus spreading outside. The Workplace Safety platform is installed on the client server. The manager who operates it has access to general statistics, such as the number of employees involved, total exposure time between them (anonymously), the rate of compliance of employees with health care recommendations, the number of currently infected and immunized employees. Access to names is only granted after a real threat has occurred. employees may opt out from the system at any time.

2017-2019

Accessories for the Paranoid

Katja Trinkwalder, Pia-Marie Stute, Germany


“Accessories for the Paranoid” explore an alternative approach to data security. As our physical environment reads, collects and stores an increasing amount of user information, this series of parasitic objects are designed to produce fake data. Through blurring our digital profiles, our true identities are hidden behind a veil of fictive information.

Assuming that data are the oil of the 21st century, each of us owns a small ground treasure—a resource that is being discreetly mined by the biggest companies in the world. As users of modern services and products, we have long become habituated to trade-offs in which “free” services are offered in exchange for our personal data. The IoT has introduced a new kind of objects into our lives, whose functioning greatly depends on collecting such information: products that are able to surveil the users, have the ability to learn from their observations and then make their own decisions without further human interference. With the comfort of automation also comes a subtle danger of our data being misused against our own interest. If attempts to restrict the flow of our personal data consequently restricted our access to the said services and products as well… would we have any other option but to obey and share? “Accessories for the Paranoid” is a series of four objects designed to regain control over our personal data. As our physical environment reads, collects and stores an increasing amount of user information, this series of parasitic objects are designed to produce fake data. Through blurring our digital profiles, our true data identities get hidden behind a veil of fictive information.


2019

WiFi Impressionist

Richard Vijgen, The Netherlands


WiFi Impressionist is a digital artist device that draws on the tradition of impressionism. It tries to capture the radio spectrum, which, like light, is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It then translates the collected data into visualizations accessible to the human eye. In real time it paints electromagnetic landscapes from abstract and non-corporeal WiFi signals.

Urban space is filled with thousands of wireless signals from mobile phones, computers and network infrastructure. These are clouds of information and data that we can neither see nor touch. The WiFi Impressionist is a digital artist device. It draws on the tradition of impressionism and tries to capture the radio spectrum, which, like light, is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It then translates the collected data into visualizations that are accessible to the human eye. In real time it paints electromagnetic landscapes from abstract and non-corporeal WiFi signals. So far, it has created visualizations for Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Arnhem in the Netherlands. The WiFi Impressionist’s works depict clusters of intersecting signals that spin around us. The WiFi Impressionist was inspired by the painting of the English artist William Turner (1775-1851), known for creating romantic landscapes. www.wifiimpressionist.com

In my work I try to establish an intuitive and aesthetic relationship between the abstract and invisible reality of digital networks and our own embodied perception. By understanding technology as a dimension of space rather than an abstract concept, we may experience a sense of ownership and participation.

Richard Vijgen

In our project data is turned into emotions or rather changing sensations on the body.

Kristi Kuusk

2017

Magic Lining

Kristi Kuusk, Aleksander Väljamäe, Estonia
Ana Tajadura-Jiménez, UK


The outside of clothes is exposed to external factors and the eyes of other people. The development of technology gives the inner, very intimate and hidden side of clothing a new meaning.

Clothing affects our behavior in different social contexts. Its outer side is exposed to external factors and the eyes of others. However, there is also the inner, very intimate and hidden side of every piece of clothing. It is only accessible and felt by the wearer and is in constant contact with the body. With the advent of intelligent textiles, also known as e-textiles, a new role of clothing is being shaped. “Magic Lining” examines the relationship between e-textile vibrations and the emotional state of the wearer. It draws attention to the need to understand how different stimuli affect our everyday life and how they can be used, triggering new emotions and reactions in the wearer, influencing how the wearer feels, how they perceive the outside world and how they perceive themselves.

2014

E-residency

The Republic of Estonia, Estonia


Access to highly advanced technological solutions makes data an indispensable part of everyday life, necessary for the smooth functioning of the society. They are also an element of the country-wide strategy.

Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency, a government-issued digital identity and status that provides access to Estonia’s advanced e-governance services and trusted, transparent business environment. Estonian e-Residency provides digital entrepreneurs with the freedom to establish and manage an EU-based company completely online and from anywhere in the world. So far, more than 70,000 people from 165+ countries have applied for e-Residency, establishing over 13,000 Estonian companies. The program is a government-wide initiative lead by the e-Residency team, the Police and Border Guard Board and a number of government ministries that are dedicated to sharing Estonia’s digital infrastructure and capabilities with the world. An e-Residency digital ID card provides access to e-services, but it is not a valid form of physical identification and cannot be used as a travel document. e-Residency does not confer citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or right of entry to Estonia or the European Union.

Estonia is a digital nation and data is the lifeblood flowing through our veins. Like blood moving thoughts and feelings around human bodies, data circulates emotions throughout Estonia’s entire virtual society, from happiness when a child is born to sadness when someone dies, or to determination when we launch our startup. On the other hand, in a digital society like Estonia, rapid flow of data helps to sort out the practicalities of life in a matter of minutes thus leaving more time to experience and enjoy the flow of emotions–such as celebrating a joyful occasion or get together with a friend in need.

e-Residency on behalf of the Republic of Estonia