“Background technologies, no less than focal ones, transform the gestalts of human experience, and precisely because they are absent presences, may exert more subtle indirect effects upon the way a world is experienced” - Ihde, D. ‘Technology and the Lifeworld, 1990, p. 99
Don Ihde’s concept of Background Relations describes the experience of technology fading into the background of the conscious experience. A Digital Data Shadows is precisely this; they are technologies that are the context for human experiences, and more and more are influencing how we experience the physical and digital realms.
As an outcome of my research, I created an ambient visualization - a category of data representation that conveys information in the periphery of human attention. It is a visual form that emphasizes background relations. As a single screen work, the project is a visualization of a digital data shadow. Programmed using MaxMSP software and a Kinect, the viewer’s outline is identified, processed, projected, and filled with data donated by participants in this study. The viewer is therefore faced with their own shadow, but they are only capable of identifying it thanks to digital data donors. The interactive visual is moreover responsive, symbolizing how digital data shadows are continuously tracing us - potentially allowing us access to a more complex and layered definition of ourselves.