Data is factual in the same way that photography is truthful. Which is to say: not at all.

Data Cindy, Sherman Query is a double exposure workshop of data and photography. We’ll understand data’s fact craft through the lens of photography practices, like those of Cindy Sherman, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Thomas Ruff, and Amalia Ulman. Like photography, data is an indexical, incomplete trace of the past. How do you create data personas with these traces? How does your past data represent your present? How can your personal data be framed, composed, and cropped to tell different stories?

We’ll work with simple software and custom scripts in Python to download, process, and interpret our personal data from Google search queries, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter data. From raw text and image dumps of this material, we will develop and develop a personal darkroom data practice, constructing photocollages, text compositions of alternate realities, and faux-autobiographies of new personas.

As in Cindy Sherman’s work, our personal data can be crafted differently to form different narratives. Done unto us outside of our control, the imposition of a persona is frightening. Created by ourselves, crafted narratives and personas can be empowering and exciting.

Materials:
A laptop, easy access to your own email & social media accounts.

Audience:
This workshop is primarily about narratives and representation. While we will use some scripts and Python code, no prior coding experience is necessary. An enthusiastic willingness to play data-dress-up is required.

Small Data Squad, Dan Taeyoung and Melanie Hoff is an internet forensics agency specializing in consensual internet self-stalking. Dan Taeyoung works at the intersection of architecture, technology and community, and is an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia GSAPP teaching on experimental design tools and representational practices. Melanie Hoff is an artist and technologist focusing on the relationship between cooperation and ideology as they scale from interpersonal exchange to state governance.

Unfortunately, this class has sold out. Add yourself to the waitlist here.