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QuantifiedBiosensing Technologies in Everyday Life$
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Dawn Nafus

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034173

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034173.001.0001

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Data in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Reading the Quantified Self through Walter Benjamin

Data in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Reading the Quantified Self through Walter Benjamin

Chapter:
(p.27) 2 Data in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Reading the Quantified Self through Walter Benjamin
Source:
Quantified
Author(s):

Jamie Sherman

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262034173.003.0002

This chapter draws on Benjamin’s discussion of accelerating mechanisms of image capture and distribution in the early 20th Century as a lens through which to view the contemporary acceleration of data and self-quantification. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork within the Quantified Self community, it suggests that self-tracking data constructs and fixes experience through the selection and recording of what is and is not counted. It argues that the commensurability of data works at a conceptual level to move beyond the individual person and the idiosyncrasies of both the data projects and the data collection streams, becoming stories in which we both render and recognize ourselves in new ways. Finally, it questions whether these new modes of self-rendering in which commensurability moves from epistemology into ontology signifies a domain shift analogous to, and as significant as, the movement of art into politics and economics documented by Benjamin.

Keywords:   Quantified Self, Commensurability, self-tracking, stories, abstraction

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