Me and My Phone

This is a series of self portraits I did in 2020, using a variety of smartphone apps. Instagram stories are what I use as my sketchbook, as a rule, and half of the images in here are included as part of that. I did the third and forth images down with the now discontinued Adobe Sketch app and I did the last one, right at the bottom, with Keep notes. I find that my phone is my most intuitive tool for sketching, and for otherwise drawing, because of its convenience. The apps are accessible as well, because they're free and run on smartphones of any price point. There's an image which I didn't do using an app at all though; the second one down was actually from turning on a developer option within Android settings which overlays input data from where the user touches the screen. It's called Pointer Location. The overlay resets each time you take your finger off, so my drawing is one long continuous line. Using that specific method to draw got me thinking; I was literally drawing with my data. It's a self portrait in the same sense as the others but with an added dimension of being a direct data visualisation. That got me thinking about the ways in which data is an extension of ourselves, or part of us, which means drawing with it is drawing with an extension of myself. Also, companies and governments build pictures of us by building their profiles of us. Even the most face-value usage of that means they advertise to our profiles rather than to us ourselves, if that makes sense? It's almost like our physical selves are just passively caught up in the consequences of it. So, what's the difference between us and those profiles? Are we our data?