Running Lives with Data

June 2012

runninglives, rca

Running Lives with Data questions how our behaviour shapes the personal Hertizian bubbles created by our electronic devices and how electromagnetic interventions can manipulate our behaviour.

Following the Know Your Place 2.0 project I was seeking an unexpected and immediate action that an individual can execute in the world, I turned my attention to runners. My first experiments were with the Nike+, a device marketed jointly by Apple and Nike that fits in the shoe of a runner. It communicates footfall data to an iPod or iPhone, indicating distance and speed. Typically the runner will be listening to a play-list of songs through their headphones and set spoken encouragements can be triggered based on their performance. These were introduced in 2006 and remain popular with runners. However, with the right equipment, anyone can read this data.

Ear Hacking is a speculation on whether and how it might be possible to hack a runner's behaviour. 263 Stories exposes the data that is spilt by the Nike+ and describes our need to tell stories about those we see. Runner Spotters further develops this to question whether it might ever be OK to spot runners.

I have focused on runners, but the consequences are broader. Personal wireless technologies enable a wealth of possibilities, be they mobile telephones, pedometers or embedded medical devices, such as pacemakers. Many of these devices leak personal data into the environment. This is the world described by Avi Rubin, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, in his 2011 TEDxMidAtlantic talk All your devices can be hacked.

Running Lives with Data was exhibited at Show RCA 2012 as my graduation project in Design Interactions.

Ear Hacking

A speculation on whether you could hack a runner. (more)

263 Stories

The stories of 263 runners in Kensington Gardens before the London Marathon. (more)

Runner Spotters

An improvisational process exploring the morality of those who spot runners. (more)