Dear Data: hand-drawn data postcard exchange

In 2014-2015, data artists Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec created a beautiful project called Dear Data, exchanging 52 pairs of hand-drawn postcards capturing their personal data. This project launched a movement, and many artists, designers, students, data people, and my friend Ching Hsieh and I followed in Stefanie and Giorgia's footsteps. I love how the postcards we've exchanged serve as a portal through time and space and a reminder to stop and take notice.


ching: I was interested in exploring the patterns in which ideas emerge, and what I learned was that most new ideas spark in the morning hours, usually while engaged in something else such as just waking up, driving, or taking a walk. There was an even split between "work ideas" vs personal ones, though the personal project ones felt more sparkly and energetic. I also had a lot of fun thinking of ideas for this visualization.
ideas ching (front)
ideas ching (back)
natalia: This week I tracked ideas, how and in what context they occurred, and whether they led to an action. I ended up dropping time from the visualization, because I started thinking of ideas often floating outside of time, and the phrase "catching ideas" that David Lynch uses to describe his creative process (also, that part wasn't that interesting to see).
ideas natalia (front)
ideas natalia (back)


ching: This one was months in the making and I am RUSTY! Data recorded in June, then visualized in September... 6 months in quarantine now, and rather than introverted bliss, it's starting to feel like prison. Claustrophobic in my own skin and mind. It's what the striped border is meant to represent, but it ended up looking like a holiday card instead. Still some positivity left, I suppose.
movement ching (front)
movement ching (back)
natalia: This week, I recorded my movements between locations (and in one case, within a location). This was shortly before quarantine, and looking back on my life then, only a few weeks ago, is surreal. Maybe that's why I gravitated towards a fanciful kite/plant theme - I hope we grow towards better times through this untethered journey.
movement natalia (front)
movement natalia (back)


ching: I recorded activities throughout the day for 7 days, and whether I felt energized, deprived, or neutral from the activity. In using watercolor, my intention was to depict the way energy flows and ebbs into the next moment, affecting mood. This time, I learned a lot during the data tracking itself, as opposed to seeing the data visualized after.
energy ching (front)
energy ching (back)
natalia: This week, I recorded all interactions that took up my energy. It was a very social week (I was at a conference for the second half), and I wanted to see the effects of that in data.
energy natalia (front)
energy natalia (back)


ching: A week of outfits
outfits ching (front)
outfits ching (back)
natalia: What I wore (interactive card!)
outfits natalia (front)
outfits natalia (back)


ching: A week of DOORS
doors ching (front)
doors ching (back)
natalia: This week I tracked all doors and doorways that I crossed
doors natalia (front)
doors natalia (back)


ching: What I read.
reading ching (front)
reading ching (back)
natalia: This week I tracked all articles I read.
reading natalia (front)
reading natalia (back)

food & drink

ching: Food & drink
food & drink ching (front)
food & drink ching (back)
natalia: Food & drink! This week I tracked everything I ate and drank.
food & drink natalia (front)
food & drink natalia (back)

conversations / interactions

ching: A week of conversations. Data tracked: verbal conversations only.
conversations / interactions ching (front)
conversations / interactions ching (back)
natalia: Interactions! This week I tracked all in-person, phone, and video interactions I had. This was a highly unusually interactive week for me. So much communication!
conversations / interactions natalia (front)
conversations / interactions natalia (back)


ching: A week of music! This week I tracked all the music I heard and noticed, whether intentionally from my earphones or out and about, or inside my own head. Also noted two dimensions in reaction to the music - happy or annoyed.
music ching (front)
music ching (back)
natalia: Music (Song Exploder podcast specifically). This week I tracked music I listened to. I narrowed it down to episodes of the Song Exploder podcast.
music natalia (front)
music natalia (back)


ching: A week of microaggressions
microaggressions ching (front)
microaggressions ching (back)
natalia: microaggressions =( >( =O -_-. Recorded instances of microaggressions, either involving me or for which I was present
microaggressions natalia (front)
microaggressions natalia (back)

digital detox

ching: A week of twinges {aka Digital Detox} to log into de-activated Facebook...
digital detox ching (front)
digital detox ching (back)
natalia: Facebook Detox (resisting pangs). This week I tracked all urges to go on facebook while on "hiatus"
digital detox natalia (front)
digital detox natalia (back)

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