Aspects is a data visualization updating in real-time, meant to explore identity within a community setting.
The idea behind Aspects originated when I started thinking about myself in the context of living in America as an international student. When I first moved, it was the first time for me, living in a completely different country. Initially, I believed the change would not be that drastic and that I would just ease into it. And I did. Until I began to notice myself saying the wrong things, having different morals, and just in general feeling odd. I had to adapt in order to fit in. When it came time to go back home, I noticed that life here has rubbed off on me as well. I felt like I had to adapt once again to fit the lifestyle back home. In a way, I was living in the middle ground between two different personas that have diverged and split into their own beings, and I was the vessel that held them together. Soon enough, I began to see more and more different personas I would take on depending on where I was and who I was with.
I began to probe more into the topic. Questions such as "who really am I?" and "what is my true nature" started popping into my head. Of course, one can simply say you are everything, your experiences make who you are etc. But then I thought why? Why do we decide to diverge into multiple personas to satisfy our surroundings? Whether it be social acceptance or just it being an unconscious choice, it became a driving question in my research. Personally, I feel like it is more of an unconscious choice that we tap into because we crave to be accepted and represent the ideal version of ourselves that we think people might like. Ultimately, my goal is to test that theory in a physical setting.
The end goal for this project is to be displayed in a community setting (a gallery, meeting, classroom), where people would be able to answer questions about themselves and see it displayed on a larger screen. I believe that this would foster communication about identity as well as make other people in the room realize that there is more depth to the person. All in all, my hypothesis is based on user testing, and due to COVID-19 remains untested. I strive to complete this project and see where my deep dive into identity takes me.