Painful Objects Proposal

Data Art


A few weeks ago I walked around my apartment and recorded all the objects that at one or multiple points had caused me physical harm. I was interested at seeing how many hazardous objects there were, where these things were located, and ranking the the amount of pain they caused. Most of all, I wanted to write about the experience of getting betrayed by stuff that was supposed to be on my side (though I should probably resist the urge to anthropomorphize, I never seem to be able to).

For me, there was something cathartic about recording these painful experiences. So my proposal is to create an online space where anyone can contribute their objects, and view all the objects that have been submitted.

Visual Representation: 

The basic concept is to depict red droplets within a frame. The frame represents the home, and the droplets represent the objects/experience of pain. Here are the variables I want to use:

Size of droplet = # of painful incidences
Saturation of droplet = amount of pain from 1 to 10
Bluish hue = if there was emotional pain and how much (from 1 to 10)
Droplet position = clustered based on location of object in home
Mouse position = Hover over droplet to reveal information about the object

I’m most conflicted about how to represent the “home” and where to place the droplets within the home. This is because everyone’s home looks different! Should I draw lines to demarcate rooms, or is that too literal? Should I make it look like a blueprint, or is that way too literal? For the time being, I’m modeling the home based off of my own apartment (since that’s the only data set I have so far).


I created a few drawings in Illustrator to brainstorm what the web page might look like:

I also made a quick p5 sketch of a potential droplet:

I decided to make a physical representation as well. I used a mug of water and a plastic chopstick to collect water droplets.  I put droplets of water on a piece of paper (1 droplet = 1 incident, 2 droplets = 2 incidents, and so on) and then I dipped a red pen into those droplets (1 dip = 1 on pain scale, 2 dips = 2 on pain scale, etc.) Unfortunately the first couple of droplets sapped nearly all the ink out of the pen, so the saturation is too weak overall. I thought I was very clever with my chopstick method but I should’ve just picked up some cheap watercolors and brushes from a drug store. Here’s the result:


If you’d like to add to my dataset, here’s the form!