Not only do we carry our work with us on our notebooks, we continuously write our private lives onto hard-disks – a potpourri of bits of memories, of useful, discovered and researched items are stored on our computer. It has become a digital diary, continuously and reliably recording a part of our being. We consciously or unconsciously create an on-going documentary about ourselves, with the amount of data growing ever more confusing and incomprehensible, so that we can only access it in a fragmented and punctual manner. But what other relationships can be formed to this data memory – less vertically hierarchical and in a more planar fashion?
I have been collecting images, photographs, graphics, plans, schemata, text and layout documents in digital form since 1998 and have used since 2004 a media database to record them. Every document that I deem important or interesting is collected by means of the software. The data is tagged according to criteria I find coherent as well as intuitive, imported into the database and then labelled with key words. Over the years, I have accumulated over 75,000 data entries (as of 02/2012). All this data does not take up any room. Using search masks I am able to quickly and easily navigate this universe and I find what I am looking for. However, all I can see on the computer are merely subsets taken out of context, clearly separated, only parts of a whole. The sense of quantity is lost and this raises questions as to the quality of sensual perception in the face of the constantly growing amount of information. An attempt at a possible solution:
The work “datadiary” proposes a different approach to the collected data in that it seeks, by means of the optical senses, to experience the whole of the data volume as a picture. All of the data sets, visible as thumbnails, are displayed on the interface and spread out as pictures. The data records, reminiscent of sediments, follow the logic and conventions of the ordinary diary. The data sets, on their respective lines, are presented chronologically according to the import date. So far, three pictures with 25,000 data sets each (125 columns of 200 lines) have been created, using the media database software Canto Cumulus.