THE DATALOGUE

An interactive exhibition for NYCxDesign

Context

MFA in Products of Design in collaboration with NYCxDesign's WantedDesign Expo

Project advisor: Sinclair Smith

The Datalogue was an interactive exhibition for NYCxDesign. Participants experienced a personality quiz in the form of a carnival that raised their awareness of the intimacy of their online data collected by platforms like Facebook. The Datalogue debuted at the Wanted Design Expo on May 18, 2018 and exhibited for the week of the NYCxDesign festival. 

This exhibition was the result of a 12-week concerted effort by the 20 members of my class. I led the seven-member Fabrication Team in designing and building the physical elements of the exhibition.

Video by Zihan Chen.

BACKGROUND

By knowing just ten of your likes, Facebook can know you better than a friend. With 50 likes, it knows you better than your spouse.

In 2017, Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to influence over 50 million Facebook users in the 2016 election. 

In the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a researcher gave Facebook users a personality test, then correlated users' results with their Facebook data. The researcher then (illegally) sold this information to Cambridge Analytica, who used the correlations to target an enormous number of users with political ads. We were surprised to find out that all of the information from the original study was publicly available (see this study and supplement from the National Academy of Sciences).

More surprising was just how predictive our data really is. The Cambridge studies found that by knowing just ten of your likes, Facebook can know you better than a friend. With 50 likes, it knows you better than your spouse.

 

With the Datalogue, we took the stance that data is a massive force that we may not fully understand and with potential outcomes that we may not be able to fully predict, but the more we know the more empowered we can be for the future.

PROCESS

Fabrication Team was tasked with designing the interactions, structures, and layout. Prototyping was core to our process — each piece went through several iterations, from sketch to cardboard to CAD to final models.

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