Exploratory Generative Study


Shared Emotional Space, Virtuality, Latent Influence/Connections, Indirect Affect, Intimacy.


Exploring how our screens and phones have become augmentations of our psyche and emotions. Our phones are vessels that hold all the information about our lives — private and public.

We leave both digital and physical traces on our phones.

Physical: Fingerprints, the pressure, speed and direction in which we text on our phones is relative to our mood and state of mind – when we are arguing we tend to text faster. Some days we barely touch our phones or reply conversations when we’re feeling existential or disassociated from our world.

Digital: Text Messages are often intimate and representative of our state of mind. We engage with different people via text, creating a shared space with each one of them. We also leave traces on Social Media via Text or Visuals.


To create a Visual Map of our emotions by identifying descriptive words associated with emotion in our text messages. While  taking note of the emotion expressed by the person we are texting. Our mood constantly changes and is influenced by everyone around us. Two people who are detached from each other can influence each other indirectly if they both communicate via an intermediary entity. For example if person A texts me and I am affected by his emotional state of mind, this then will have an influence on how I respond to person C. This is ever more so apparent in the contemporary world today where we are psychologically connected (voluntarily and involuntarily) due to the veracity of the digital/virtual world.

We are always multitasking and replying or engaging with multiple people at the same time unlike in real life where we do not have the ability to have multiple intimate dialogues simultaneously. Essentially my idea is to attempt to visualise a map that connects specific people via their expressed emotions and at the same time visualise how they play a part in influencing my mental state. Our phones have become augmentations of us and we barely pay attention to the way in which we engage with it and how this engagement has affect on our cognitive and emotional state.

Part of the exploration in this study is to take a step back and attempt to deconstruct the relationships we form in the virtual world (specifically text conversations) and sequence a set of representations that express this complex phenomena in a clearer way. By forming a sequence of simple ‘data graphs’ over a specific period of time, we can then track and process how  the people we text play a role in our lives.

Constant Variables

Size of Parameter
Positions of Point
Relative distance between Points


Number of lines
Area within Boundary
Number of connections between me and specific person
Number of connections between people

INITIAL Visual Sketch

For each corresponding emotion or word between any two people, a line will be drawn to connect the respective points. The red line represents a connection between two isolated people while the black line represents a connection between a specific person and myself.

2 Replies to “Exploratory Generative Study”

  1. Praveen,

    You need to develop a clear structure and methodology for this project, and apply them. Here are some suggestions:

    1. Select contacts: probably your most frequent and most interesting chat contacts in this period.

    2. Select keywords to track: several (not too many) emotionally relevant but frequent enough keywords in your chat sessions.

    3. Select a reasonable time frame for recording, establishing relations and making graphs. You may include a list of contacts and keywords in the final project. Contact names can be aliases, of course, while keywords have to be real.

    4. While you collect the data, play with the design of the graphs.
    The design should be simple but informative/telling, and please try to avoid dryness. There are many excellent examples of representing relationships in modern data visualization techniques, so look that up online for inspiration to find your own style.
    You can also search for relational maps in data visualization.
    Also some of these books, some of which should be available at the ADM Library:
    Halpern, Orit. Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason Since 1945. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.
    Klanten, Robert, N. Bourquin and S. Ehmann, eds. Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design, Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag, 2008.
    Klanten, Robert, N. Bourquin and S. Ehmann, eds. Data Flow 2: Visualising Information in Graphic Design, Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag, 2010.Lima, Manuel. Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011.
    McCandless, David. Information is Beautiful. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2010.
    McCandless, David. Knowledge Is Beautiful: Impossible Ideas, Invisible Patterns, Hidden Connections—Visualized. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2014.
    Rendgen, Sandra. Information Graphics. Cologne: Taschen, 2012.
    Steele, Julie and Noah Iliinsky. Beautiful Visualization. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, 2010.
    However, please do not lose yourself in books (you can always return to them later), but pay attention to the project as a whole.

    5. Select a reasonable time frame for rounding up the project: final assembly and presentation of the graphs.

    I hope this helps.

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