Week 42: 
A week of laughter

Giorgia

Data Laughter

That was, of course, a fun week.
I recorded all of the times I laughed, but not only. I wanted to push the cheerfulness of the week a little more, and I tracked also the chuckles of the people I was with, noting down who was responsible for them.

Sometimes the laughter was collective, and I did my best to scout around and see who was really grinning and who wasn’t.
Sometimes the laughters were really prolonged and joyful, so I recorded the “intensity” factor as well.

I was in Italy for the week, I spend time with my family and worked one day from the Milan office of my company, where most of our design team is. I also happily reconnected with my boyfriend who had been in Italy for few weeks already.
As you can tell from the legend and from the people ‘featured’ in this postcard, his was of course a quite particular week.

In my postcard, I wanted to convey the idea that laughing creates a connection and a bound between the people involved, so I conceived my data as “networked", as I never do actually. So I created nodes to represent each single person, and dotted arcs to link those guys who were laughing together, indicating the “instigator” with a solid line.

I represented the laughters people got out of me as “petals”, and the ones I caused on them as “stems”.

 

A portrait of a happy week

I love this card, it recalls many nice memories already.
It reminds me to the funny jokes I heard in the office, and how I was happy to see and feel the positive mood of the studio: besides being super talented and dedicated designers they are also having real fun, how nice!
This postcard evokes also lots of nice moments with my boyfriend in our nice air&b apartment in Milan, getting together and goofing around after being apart for a wile.
It also makes me smile now while I picture my family members and the things we were laughing about.

 

A link to other places

By focusing on those chucking moments, I felt allowed to temporarily step outside what was bugging me at the moment, or to take a true break from the tasks I was performing much more than in other weeks of tracking.
There is something about laughters that brings you to another place and space for a moment, something that clears your mind for a little bit, and acknowledging those moments by stopping and noting them down made them even more intense.
It’s not new thing that humour is infectious, that it relaxes your body and triggers the release of endorphins.

But how many times I’ve told myself to be more silly and lighthearted…to give myself the permission of not be too serious? Many, but I've never been able to really do it.
Well, this week forced me to fully embrace the fun in my days, and I can tell how my mood was incredibly more positive.

 

Stefanie!

I felt a little sad upon receiving Stefanie’s postcard since the first thing I read on the back was “for a card about laughter I am sad about how this card turned out ::sad face::”.

But then I laughed, looking for the data-void she had while “enjoying life - drinking with friends - and to her birthday!"

It’s always so pleasant to discover what she tracked, and in this case what made her laugh. This week I didn’t recorded the reasons for my laughters because I was interested in the connections aspect, while she did. And I can relate so much!

Laughing at being tickled :D,  at someone else misfortune (sorry), or even at the Iphone autocorrector :)
What I am definitely not laughing for, is the imminent end of the project.
:(

 *sad end of a cheerful post*

 
 

The Process: 

 first ideas over drinks while waiting for best friend in our secret backyard in Brooklyn

first ideas over drinks while waiting for best friend in our secret backyard in Brooklyn

Stefanie

This was a good week to capture laughter, as it was both the week of my birthday and high summer in London, so everyone in the city was social and upbeat, standing outside a pub with a drink in hand. However, since laughing comes so naturally, it’s quite difficult to track. It took a day of acclimation to get used to tracking laughs, so I only felt as though I was actually capturing my laughter properly by Tuesday.

I enjoyed tracking laughter as it meant that I lived for a little longer in my laughter than usual, which brightened my mood. Istarted to listen more closely to how soft or how loud my laughter is, noticing I laugh in different ways depending on the situation. However, I found it difficult having to pause and record my laughs in a circle of good friends as it often meant that I couldn’t share in the moment properly with them. While for most of the time I enjoy the data-gathering Giorgia and I use to learn more about ourselves and each other, I can also see that for certain types of data it can detract from the experience. There’s a happy medium to be found, I guess.

And since the beginning of our project, this is the first time that I had to resort to analogue data collection, writing down my laugh data on a scrap of paper during a pub quiz so people wouldn’t think I was cheating when I was entering my data into my phone. (my team got second, thought that might be important to mention here)

However, because this was my birthday week I had some parties and nice dinners, and this inevitably meant that I would have some data voids: at my party, I stopped tracking laughter as the night went on due to the fact that tracking often intruded upon the good time that I had with my friends. Then, when my husband took me to quite a nice restaurant for my birthday dinner I was banned from tracking laughter, which was fair enough really (and a relief: having a couple hours of rest from tracking data might have been one of my favourite birthday presents).

I also received a present of some lovely new drawing pens in the post from Giorgia this week! Both Giorgia and some of my other good friends have been so great for my birthday, their kindness made it one of the best I’ve had for awhile. 

I was worried about how weird my drawing was this week, as evidenced by my comments on the card. However, over time I’ve changed my mind and I quite like it, even if it looks a little crazy. I come to realise I prefer drawing in a way where I feel less-restrained and rigid.

However, upon receiving Giorgia’s postcard I knew she had ‘won’ our week of laughter: I loved her drawing so much, as to me it looks like some happy, pretty laughter would sound. I have been laughing (oh, I’d better track that) at how our drawing approach has diverged over the weeks: mine is more loose and messy, and hers is more defined and detailed. 

 
 

The Process:

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