// new media class

Nicenboim Iohanna — Data Domestication

Measuring Instruments — Winter 2013

Data Domestication is a design project, exploring the ritualistic aspects of bringing quantitative data in our lives.

The project presents a series of three objects, each containing an environmental sensor: an air quality bird cage, a water quality aquarium and a noise level dog leash. The domesticated sensors have animal behaviors and qualities, but the pets are not there anymore, so what remains is just their container. The interaction with these devices, which is similar to the one we had with pets, allows us to develop new rituals and have an emotional connection with them.

In contrast to computers, humans are not good at remembering numbers or interpreting complex graphs, but rather very good in interpreting vital signs. Since environmental changes happen very gradually, these devices don't express the values in exact numbers, but rather allow us to have a more intuitive and personal interpretation of the data.

In opposition to common electronic devices, the domesticated devices have an active behavior in normal conditions. In order to notice changes in their behaviour, the user needs to know their habits very well. Like other electronic devices, the domesticated devices can also eventually die, but they do so if the environmental conditions are too bad for them. This moment, instead of being frustrating for the user - like when a mobile phone doesn't work anymore - becomes a profound ritual.