Self-Tracking: An Everyday Creativity

  • James Dyer (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The quantification of everyday life, also known as self-tracking, is an increasingly popular activity. Forbes’ technology enthusiast Ewan Spence claimed that 2014 was “the year of wearable technology”. In that year, Google, Android, and Intel, all released new wearable self-tracking devices. Two years later the fast food chain McDonald’s offered free “Step-It” self-trackers in children’s meals. These devices count calorie consumption, steps walked, stairs climbed, social activities, and more. Problematically, these emergent wearable self-tracking devices are routinely framed as ways to manage, optimise, and enhance, the self. This is evident in commercial scenarios as well as in academic discourses. Whilst this nascent topic is yet to be explored in critical depth there is already a particular habit of thought being established. These studies focus analytically on the functionalist accuracy of devices, as well as the effects of the collisions between human-and-device. In this way, they are limited to what is possible with self-tracking, and what is potential — such as the creative, speculative, transgressive, anti-traditional, etc. — is backgrounded. Philosophically, through the meta-mechanics of design, self-tracking can be rearticulated as an everyday creative practice. In doing so, new philosophical potentials, material relations, and political agonisms, are foregrounded and the creative potentials of difference-making gain greater potency.
Period12 Jan 2018
Event titleMedia, Communication and Cultural Studies Association Annual Conference: Creativity and Agency
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational