1055113200 is both a sculpture and a UNIX timestamp. When converted, the timestamp 1055113200 is equivalent to approximately 20 years ago (June 3, 2003), when HASTAC was founded.
1055113200 began as a question – How do we celebrate the 20th anniversary of HASTAC? Nikki was part of the HASTAC migration to Humanities Commons, and as part of that process, they interviewed many members of the HASTAC community. One of the key themes that emerged was how much time, energy, thinking, and emotion people have given to keeping the organization going. People loved HASTAC but ultimately felt a little burnt out by the volume or labor required to manage an org of this size.
HASTAC has always been about the people, and with insights from the interviews, we realized that the best way to celebrate HASTAC’s 20th anniversary was to honor and bring forward all of the labor that has been given to the org over the last two decades.
There are so many ways to “count” people and their actions that we could write a whole book on them (don’t worry, we won’t!). We started with the most obviously “countable” contributions – code commits, blog posts, comments, user registrations. Nikki scraped this data from the old HASTAC website, and from the now-retired codebase. Nikki also grabbed activity data from Google docs. Once this was complete, we had approximately 150,000 data points. However, this dataset represents only a small fraction of all of the work people have done – what about meetings? what about child care? what about catering and custodial for every conference or workshop?
When making this work we (Molly and Nikki) were thinking about data visualizations, especially in the lineage of Edward Tufte. Often, data visualizations present images of neatness or of understandability – indeed the point of a visualization is to give the viewer new understanding. However, those kinds of visualizations can erase all of the messy complexity of data, and certainly the messy complexity of the lives and moments that data is supposed to represent.
For 1055113200, we engaged with data visceralization, an idea popularized by Kelly Dobson, and brought to Nikki through the practice of Jacque Wernimont, director of the Digital Justice Lab. Data visceralization aims to make data able to be felt by the body – touched, smelled, heard. However, this too felt somehow too neat for us – frequently, visceralization is still practiced in a tidy 1:1 way (for example, one data point might be represented by one vibration, or one note).
Through these explorations, we developed a practice and philosophy that Molly calls data infusion. We think of infusion in the same way that one might consider a flavor infusion – an infused beverage has hints of the original, but it is not a replica.