Tagged: evanroth

Grubby fingerprints

One of the earlier, and more interesting discussions of the Transmediale festival this year came in the exploration from David Berry on Depletion Design.

While presenting perspectives on the theme of Data Exhaust (the intentional or unintentional stuff that’s left behind from our digital interactions), he touched on some key themes for our relationships with technology.

As our objects become smarter, and our technologies more pervasive, we’re generating more and more data. Now commentary on big data isn’t exactly ground breaking but Berry made the observation that advancements in computing actually lead to a withdrawal of its prominence in our awareness. Effective tools, platforms, experiences and ‘things’ eventually become part of the furniture of our daily lives – Julien Smith discusses some implications of this for experience designers in the latest Media Hacks episode.

Add connectedness, and new ‘enchanted objects’ are quietly capturing and reporting an increasing amount of interactions that we’re mostly ignorant or indifferent in giving up. For me, it’s these less-intentional/ unplanned byproducts of our relationships with tech that throw up some important questions.

The light, regular, digital fingerprints we’re leaving across our platforms and devices is quite fascinating in it’s reflection of both our screen-based behaviour, and with networked ‘things,’ our lives away from the screen.

I was reminded of this when reviewing my mobile WiFi access list after a recent trip overseas.


A neat, unintended snapshot of the spots we spent some time while grabbing a hot chocolate, connecting for information or spending a night.

Katy Connor makes a comment on exactly this topic with her work, Pure Flow – an exploration of the ‘invisible noise’ created by the GPS and WiFi networks that we pass and interact with every day. Are these involuntary connections playing a role in our behaviour, and should we be more cognisant of the systems (digital and physical) we operate in?

(Photo by Seb Lee-Delisle)

Evan Roth’s Angry Birds All Levels takes the smudges from our interaction with the iPhone glass, and elevates them to a sports-like summary of our passage through the game. Literal finger prints demonstrating the user’s strategy and progress through the experience. Could narratives and insights be pieced together from physical markings left by interactions with technology?

As we move toward a hyper connected society of objects and people, how important is an appreciation of where our interactions are being recorded? Like my holiday WiFi list, what are the stories we’re leaving behind through our casual exchanges with technologies? And, questions of privacy aside, what are the implications of the permanence of our grubby, digital fingerprints?