Visualizations of Identity

~IDENTITÄT – The »Gestalt« of digital identity

~IDENTITÄT – The »Gestalt« of digital identity is the bachelor’s thesis of Jonas Loh and Steffen Fiedler. The students at University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany crawled more than 100,000 personal raw data sets on the web and analyzed their contents, including parameters of time. They developed methods for visualizing and comparing the data, resulting in a series of “personal interpretation[s] of the dig­ital identity as an amorphous sculpture.”

The results are striking embodiments of complexity, movement, incongruity, and finiteness; much like the average identity. These sculptures are successful because they capture the movement and growth of one’s identity, convoluted and tied in messy knots of contradictions, incompleteness, and experimentation.

~IDENTITÄT is a reminder of the simultaneous complexity and finiteness of human identity, and a warning that our digital identities are nothing more than a collection of credit reports, Facebook pages, Google results, bank account numbers, and archived e-mails.

As an odd mashup of Geek, Identity Guy, and Architect/Designer, I couldn’t help but give this project a shout-out. And though I think that the description “gestalt” is a little overstated, the provocative sculptures teach us new ways to abstract something as indeterminate and personal as your identity. Bravo, Jonas and Steffen.

Hat tip: Identity Woman.

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