Earlier last year I began considering the idea of using my personal data as a source of inspiration for making art. I downloaded my entire Google Activity and puzzled over the idea of making an installation piece using the enormous amount of data that was sent to me. As a firm believer of the power of journaling—both through social media and pen & paper—I am interested in the data that tells the most about a person. Text and sound recordings, that is what struck me. A record of my mind at a specific moment—linking to memories, places, and people. The vastness of this catalogue put me off from dealing with it for some time. In the meanwhile, I began looking at ways I could collect more data about myself. I had already asked Facebook to send me a copy of my profile before I deleted it in early 2018. My Twitter, instead, was still very much active. I would not say it was thriving: at the time of writing I still have less than 200 followers and follow 6 times as many accounts (some would say that is not good practice). Twitter makes it easy to download your data. Most of what Twitter holds is “textual” information in a variety of formats: the number of followers and following, as well as retweets, likes, time, and day of tweeting for every single tweet. Twitter will also provide you with a .html file containing a more in-depth overview of your account, including statistics, thumbnails, and a search function.
While busy adding entries to my paper journal, which I started less than year ago, I realised I had already been writing my thoughts since long before, but on a public platform. It is here that the idea for this book started coming forward. Materialising the new media into old media. Making the book a testament to the performativity of the archive. The creator playing with their own digital-thoughts—their own self. A self mirrored onto the social media platform taking new form through the “sharing” of ideas. These ideas considered as a whole—a collection of opinions.
Francesco Imola, 2019