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About the Project:

 

In late 2022, I started tracking how I spent my time each week in a conditionally-formatted excel sheet. As someone who has worked (fairly soullessly) with a lot of data and charts in spreadsheets at work, there was something about tracking and analyzing myself in that format that felt different, and good. Filling out each highlighted cell gave me a sense of control over my personal life that I hadn't felt in a while.

 

After I had about a year of data (Jan 1 2023- Dec 31, 2023) I started organizing it by category.  I collected data on12 different items, but organized the bulk of it into 6 categories: food, art, love, people, future, and time. These are the things that I seem most preoccupied with, and it shows in the sheet.

Each category has a summary score for each week of the 52 weeks year, represented as a heatmap on the front page.  Click in to each one and you'll see a few charts and some writing on the topic.  As it turns out, my feelings about tracking this stuff ended up being more important to me than the values I was getting.  Seeing the patterns wasn't as meaningful as my stories, delusions, and judgements about them. 

Below is a list of artists, works, and resources that informed the  project. Some are projects or authors that specialize in data visualization, but many are just artists whose work I really admire and whose visualization of personal narratives and views are thoughtful and compelling.

Thank you for reading!

  • Adbusters: Canadian counter-culture, anti-capitalism publication. Responsible for campaigns such as Buy Nothing Day, TV Turnoff Week and Occupy Wall Street. 

  • Allie Brosh: Comic, writer, and blogger. Creator of  the webcomic “Hyperbole and a Half.” 

  • Austin Kleon: Former librarian and web designer, current writer and author of “Steal Like an Artist.” 

  • Bianca Hockensmith: A former welcome to my homepage fellow who works in excel and kind of 8-bit, early internet style. 

  • Darren Cullen: British satire artist who excels at using the language of ads in his artwork. 

  • Emily Flake: Cartoonist for the new yorker and mad magazine; founder of St. Nells, a fem-focused residency for humor writing. I’ve long appreciated her unique style of drawing and sense of humor. 

  • Ilovecharts: A tumblr site founded by chart enthusiasts. Their chartist-in-residence program catalogs the (often hand-drawn) work of full and part time doodlers with an interest in data visualization across a wide range of subjects. I read this blog weekly when I was briefly working as a substitute math teacher and it constantly gave me creative ideas for how to represent mathematical concepts to kids. 

  • Mari Naomi: Artist, cartoonist, and author of “I Thought You Loved Me,” a graphic novel about friendship, identity, and memory. 

  • McSweeny’s Internet Tendency: online humor publication with a charming and sarcastic tone. 

  • Meghna’s zine project called "diagrams from life" uses hand drawn charts to catalog a life’s worth of relationships. 

  • Michelle Rial: Artist and designer and author of “Am I Overthinking This? Over-answering Life’s Questions in 101 Charts.”She creates beautiful, conceptual diagrams about life’s issues. 

  • Nicholas Felton: Designer and entrepreneur focused on translating data into objects and artworks. His personal annual reports combine corporate style dashboards with personal data. 

  • Perry Bible Fellowship: a comic consortium started by Nicholas Gurewitch. The comic style and content is dreamy and surreal. 

  • Sarah Firth: Australian- based illustrator, writer, and Author of “Everything Eventually Connects: Eight Essays on Uncertainty.”

  • Seth Tobocman: Activist and graphic novelist based in the Lower East side of NYC. I first discovered Seth’s work when volunteering at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space. 

  • Stephanie Posavec: Designer and artist exploring experimental approaches to communicating data, and author of “I am a book. I am a portal to the universe.” 

  • XKCD: This cartoon by Randall Monroe (cartoonist, author, and engineer) was the first graphic serial I ever read that incorporated charts and data analysis into its weekly narratives. In 2010 I read every single cartoon published and gleaned from it a deep appreciation for quantitative information (and a desire to know more math).

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