A week of complaints
Do we really realize how much we complain about stuff? I don’t think so.
This week we tracked every time we would express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a situation or a particular thing. I reported what I was complaining about, who I was stressing with it, if I was saying it loud or texting it, and if – on hindsight – if I felt there was a real need for a complaint.
As for the data-drawing, I wanted to explore a visual model that could return the idea of repetitiveness of the act of complaining (because yes I do complain a lot), and that at the same time could show the “level” of the complaints: when they are really needed or totally out of place.
I’ve always been so much fascinated by musical scores: by that elegant and minimal form of recurrence, by the symbolism of this language which is already information design if you think about it, by the idea of a temporal score conveying all of the information about how a piece should be performed, it is really intriguing to me.
I found this reference to be perfect for my complaints!
Look Ma, no stamps!
We delivered this postcard in person because Stefanie was visiting here in New York, I so much liked to exchange our cards while being in the same place and at the same moment, being able to see our mutual reactions!
It is important to us that the data is experienced in a physical format, the postcard; I guess we both love the beauty of the act of “discovering” while physically flipping the postcard from the back to the front over and over, as opposed to having everything in the same visible place.
Stefanie’s complaint card is actually one of my favorites: I would never have thought of drawing data this way – I am so fascinated by how her mind works!
I tracked complaints said to me, and complaints I said to others, and who it was from (though not all this data ended up in the card)
And so we have complaints, which seems appropriate, as for most of this week my parents were here, and I spent time with them sightseeing and visiting in-laws. As much as I love my parents (Mom and Dad, I know you will read this, and I love you both dearly), I am pretty sure that having one’s family stay in one’s house is going to cause more than a few complaints.
This week, Giorgia and I were messaging each other and commiserating, saying ‘How can we love our family but still they drive us crazy?’ (Mom and Dad, really, I had a lovely time with you and I’m so happy you came. This is just a data-gathering exercise, nothing more)
It was also Giorgia who recommended that I track the ‘complaints in my head’, as there were bound to be loads of them while I held my tongue with my parents around. (Mom and Dad, I love you, this is just a project, ok? … OK? PLEASE DON’T DISOWN ME, OH MY GOD THEY ARE GOING TO DISOWN ME)
Since my family and friends knew I was tracking complaints, my mom leaned towards me and whispered: ‘I’ll bet your father will be one of the people who complains the most.” And so he was. I obviously take after him.
I messed this card up so much, namely because I was drawing it in a hotel room in Canada before I needed to check out and catch a flight to NYC that very day and hang out with Giorgia (yay)!
And then my pens leaked and smudged the card and my hands. And then I made a mistake and put some of the data points in the wrong order. And then I didn’t have time to re-do the card. And THEN I threw some of my pens across the hotel room desk after finishing this terrible thing.
This whole card is a physical representation of a massive complaint. I do like how it looks, though. I just wish it was a little better. It wasn’t a very legible card, but thankfully I could go into the data in detail on the back.
This card was presented to Giorgia hungover and bleary-eyed after we were drinking IN REAL LIFE in NYC.
Giorgia, wrap up warm this winter! From your card, it seems you’re cold a lot and really need to get a scarf and sweater!
I’m also feeling sheepish that Giorgia complains less about her partner than I do (sorry, dear husband, but I get the bad habit from my Dad, right? Right?)