In this year's software project, "Coding IxD," we tackled several challenges under the topic "data physicalizations": How can we enable people to explore and understand personal data meaningfully? How can data physicalizations foster people's reflection on the social, ecological, or economic entanglements of their behaviour and perception of the world? How can people interact with and manipulate data physically?
To foster these questions, we were inspired by the observation that personal data increasingly permeate our everyday routines. People unconsciously or consciously record their activities, for example, by counting daily steps, pinning favorite places in the city, or monitoring electricity and water consumption. These data can help to reflect on existing routines and behavior on an individual scale for self-optimization. On a large scale, these data can help develop a profound understanding and an awareness of social, ecological, or economic entanglements.
In order to be legible data needs to be represented in a meaningful manner. Only then can we turn data into information, make its significance graspable, and derive possible actions from it. The interdisciplinary course brought students from Computer Science of Freie Universität Berlin and Product Design of the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin together to develop novel neo-analogue data physicalizations. These artifacts are designed to support cognition, communication, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making.