Erdem Taşdelen

The Quantified Self Poems

Series of 12 silkscreen prints
26" x 40" (66 x 101.6 cm each)

The Quantified Self Poems is a project that considers the use of tracking apps and devices for self-improvement, experimenting with digital technology to produce a series of poems. The title of the project refers to an international self-tracking movement, whose name was coined in San Francisco in 2007 by Wired Magazine editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly.

Over a period of three months in the summer of 2016, I reported my moods roughly three times a day on Emotion Sense, a smart phone app developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK. As I answered a series of questions and marked my emotional states on a grid on my phone, my feelings were tracked through quantified data.

The information collected was then converted into six poems, each representative of two weeks’ data of feelings. To do this I worked with a programmer to create an algorithm that translated my emotional selections into words drawn from a unique dictionary created for the project. This experiment resulted in six poems that appear to be written by an emotive automaton, in a sense written by me, but not penned by me. The poems were then produced as part of a suite of twelve screen prints, alongside six that feature screen captures from Emotion Sense.

The Quantified Self Poems was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and produced with thanks to Daniel Zomparelli and Ali Bilgin Arslan.

For more information, please click to read: Quantified Self, Canadian Art, Winter 2017

Installation views, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2017. Photographs: SITE Photography.