A week of workspace
On week 26, we wanted to spy on each others workspace, and on a survey mode we collected data to tell the other person how our work environment looks like. Our Accurat New York office is part of New Inc a new co-working space and incubator promoted by the New Museum, so I every day work surrounded by designers, digital artists and small companies that work at the edge of technology, art and different types of design.
I surveyed all of the desks early on a morning in March, when nobody was there, (sorry guys - I hope you don’t mind if I glanced at your workspaces a little - it was for a good reason!!),
On my first round I noted down:
- who is working from each desk (if I know him-her!),
- how much do I know him/her (such as we never talked - we smile at each other occasionally -
we talk occasionally - we got beers together - we are friends)
- the kind of work they do (data - animation - design - installation - textile - etc)
- and who work together.
And then I set up a lot of categories to collect other kinds of data from my coworkers desks:
- the tidiness of the desk (perfect, like an hospital - ok, a little creative mess -
a real mess - OMG how can you….??),
- Imac or laptops or no computer on the desk,
and, most interestingly, what else they do have on their desks, and indeed some funny ones appear in the collection,
beers and various alchool, a Chinese cat waving, an inflatable pig and a Rubik cube included among all.
I like this postcard of mine, it is indeed crazily detailed as I usually do, but I hope Stefanie can have a clear idea of my space now!
Each rectangle represent a desk, and they are spatially organized as in the floor plan, drawn with no space between then.
I composed these segmented elements, differentiating the typology of data I was representing by organizing the inner space of the rectangle in compartiments.
I don’t know why but the overall drawing reminds me to quilt art a lot!
Dear Data: my idea of “success” and a collaborative project
As we are pushing ourselves on Dear Data, I’ve started to think about my idea of “success”: I picture success as the feeling that I am doing the most I can do on my work in the field that passionates me, and that this work is making a meaningful contribution and an impact on the world, in a way.
Success, to me, can be described as doing what you are passionate about and getting significantly appreciated for it in the long term, but also feeling like you worked hard at the end of each day, being pleased in how you spent your time. And all of this goes definitely beyond money and power.
Lately, I also came to recognize my idea of “success” depends not only on the very goals you are trying to achieve, but also on the person or group of people you’re collaborating with to do it.
When I look back at the projects we’ve worked on, the ones that I would describe as more successful are the ones where we experimented the most and ventured out of our comfort zone indeed, but also the ones where great team-collaborations happened.
And, even if it’s not even finished, I have no doubts Dear Data will be the most successful one of this kind for me!!
As Giorgia and I agreed on workspaces this week, I chose to focus on my desk in my studio, cataloguing everything that I had piled up around me in my card. My workspace is always messy, and always scattered between three locations: my studio workspace, my workspace at home (ie my kitchen table), and my travelling workspace (ie my laptop bag). For this task I focused on my studio workspace as a reminder that since I pay rent for this space, I really ought to use it.
I made a list of everything found on my desk and bookshelf in my studio: noting down folders, pens, pencils, and so on, with the intention of drawing and representing all of this on the card for Giorgia. But then, once I was finished gathering all of this data, I looked at my spreadsheet and thought ‘Why will Giorgia really care about knowing how many folders or paper clips I have?’ Suddenly, this dataset felt boring and uninsightful, so I decided to pare back my data, focusing only on the top 10 items that I have on my desk for the card.
By cutting out all the additional data points and focusing on the ten largest quantities, the data begins to reveal my personality to Giorgia. It highlights how most of the items on my desk aren’t really essential for work, but are there for more emotional reasons. And these items are large quantities of little tiny items that are scattered around my desk in a haphazard way. So I hang onto business cards that people who are in jobs more interesting and glamorous than mine give me, as it makes me feel that I’m one of their peers (silly, I know). Or I always empty out my wallet on my desk to remove all the coins and notes I pick up from the countries I visit on my travels, so these are found here too, functioning as aides-memoires of past adventures.
And often I just save things in my studio out of hope: I can’t ever, ever bear to throw away poster tubes, or cardboard boxes, just in case I might use it as an art material to make a costume for a fancy dress party. (You can really tell where my priorities lie with this data).
So, no, nothing useful on my desk, but the items on my desk are more of an indication of my personality, hopes, and insecurities than I had ever realised.
Luckily, the items that I have the most of on my desk are drawing materials, which reassures me that some of the stuff I have on my desk actually has some purpose after all.
Ah, this is a pretty boring drawing this week, both because I drew it quite quickly but also likely because I simplified the data so much. However, I chose to draw scattered dots to highlight the scattered, fragmented nature of all the little useless bits and bobs that I keep on my desk.
I think I mainly enjoyed drawing this card just to use a lovely brush pen, and enjoy the action of drawing the little grey circles with this pen. While this card might not be the most beautiful, it was enjoyable to draw.
I think it’s interesting that we both decided to interpret this week’s theme using such different approaches. It makes me smile that Giorgia has gathered data on her coworkers in such a lighthearted, cheeky way. I wonder, do they know that she has categorised them in this way, or not? Have they seen this data?
I like Giorgia’s drawing this week, it feels sharp, colourful, and friendly, which seems to suit this playful categorisation of her workspace.
I also feel vindicated and relieved that Giorgia’s workspace is categorised as being a ‘creative mess’ instead of being considered ‘tidy’, as I know she is much, much tidier than I am, so it’s nice to see that sometimes her desk is messy too (though mine, obviously, is much worse).