[ISEA2020] Paper: Samuel Thulin — Data, Sense, Resonance: An Art of Diabetic Self-Tracking


Keywords: Diabetes, self-tracking, chronic illness, data sense, data resonance, quantified self, visualization, sonification, cocorporeality, vibration

This paper presents Hemo-resonance #1, the first in a planned series of art works situated at the intersection of art, chronic illness, disability, and the increasing prevalence of body-related data produced through sensors and selftracking. Hemo-resonance #1 operates as an attempt to open alternative pathways for thinking about and practicing diabetes. It does so by introducing the concept and practice of “data resonance” as a way of following the possible trajectories of data and bodies, attending to the multiplicity of their affects and co-constitutions. Typically, self-tracking, and especially the monitoring involved in diabetic selfmanagement, is most often put in the pursuit of understanding and uncovering cause and effect, patterns, and trends in the operation of the body in order to act on them to optimize future health outcomes. “Data resonance” moves away from the focus on legibility and goal-orientation so prevalent in these self-tracking activities to explore what else can be done with the collected data and their modes of emergence. I argue that such an approach is important for ongoing questioning of the boundaries and configurations of human and non-human bodies.

  • Samuel Thulin is a researcher and artist working at the intersection of mobilities research, communication and media studies, sound studies, and critical disability studies. Originally from Nortondale, New Brunswick (Canada) and currently based in Montreal (Canada), he holds a PhD in Communication Studies from Concordia University. Through his publications and artworks he explores: locative media and contested senses of place; confluences of cartography and auditory culture; self-tracking, chronic illness, and datafication; and creative and emergent research methodologies. He has exhibited his work, given workshops, and presented his research at venues in Canada, the US, Mexico, Argentina, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Greece.