[ISEA2022] Paper: Laia Blasco-Soplon, Pau Alsina & Enric Mor — Debunking the quantified self through artistic data portraits


Short paper, theme: Futures and Heritages: New strategies for design and architecture
Venue: CCCB, date: June 13

Keywords: Quantified self, qualified self, artistic data visualization, big data, interface criticism

Today the “quantified self” is a technical reality that structures datasets of all kinds of interfaces. These interfaces are created with the goal to establish, develop and transform the relationship with the self, the data and the society. In a “datified” world, data visualization challenges traditional representation systems by opening up a wide world of analytical and graphical opportunities. As user interfaces, data visualizations are artificial devices that carry cultural messages in a wide variety of forms and media. Additionally, data visualizations are never neutral mechanisms of data transmission since they affect the messages, providing a model of the world itself, a logical and ideological scheme. The fascination related with big data and the creation of increasingly sophisticated user interfaces pave the way for the proliferation of diverse mutations in the perception of the world and of ourselves. The false neutrality and transparency of quantitative representation of one’s own self is built on the assumption of a closed and measurable self that perceives itself as an entity that can be calibrated, compared and evaluated using numerical parameters. In this context, our research is focused around the implications and mechanisms of the quantified self and its visualization and also about the role that artworks based on data can play.

  • Laia Blasco-Soplon is Director of the Arts Degree at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Spain, and professor of the Multimedia Degree and the Digital Design and Creation Degree at the same university. She is doing his PhD in the UOC’s Doctoral Program in Network and Information Technologies. Bachelor of Fine Arts, Degree in Graphic Design, Postgraduate in Visual Culture Studies from the University of Barcelona (UB) and Master in Multimedia Applications from the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). She is lecturer at UOC but she has also taught at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and in various vocational schools in the field of art and graphic design. She also has extensive professional experience as a graphic designer, illustrator and prepress specialist. Her artistic and academic research focuses on the design, study and criticism of interactive visual tools for experimentation and learning.
  • Dr. Enric Mor (PhD) is associate professor at UOC (Open University of Catalonia, Spain) where he teaches human-computer interaction, human-centered design and creative coding. He is the director of the master’s degree in Interaction Design and User Experience. His research is focused on technology-enhanced learning, human-computer interaction and design. Currently, he is researching across the fields of media art and interaction design.
  • Pau Alsina (ES) holds a PhD from the University of Barcelona’s Department of History of Philosophy, Aesthetics and Cultural Philosophy, having written a thesis on emerging systems in artistic practices related to technoscience. He is a member of the faculty of the Arts and Humanities Department of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC), where he coordinates subjects on art and contemporary thought. He was director of the Digital culture and art postgraduate degree programme run by the UOC and the LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Centre, and coordinator of the same two organisations’ Art and Digital Culture Seminars programme. He also lectures on Ramon Llull University’s MECAD/ESDi Curatorship for Art and New Media master’s degree course and is a guest lecturer at other universities in Spain. He has been director of Artnodes, the UOC’s art, science and technology journal, since 2002. He is a founding member of the YASMIN network for art, science and technology in Mediterranean countries, an initiative backed by UNESCO DigiArts, Leonardo/ISAST, Olats, Artnodes/the UOC and the University of Athens. He carries out research on matters related to contemporary thought, art and digital culture as a member of the Studies in Culture and Society Group (GRECS). [source: https://www.uoc.edu/webs/palsinag/EN/curriculum/index.html]. Pau is Executive Director of ISEA2022.