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Abacus Datagraphy: A Speculative Enactment

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journal contribution
posted on 11.04.2019 by RTD Conference, Chris Elsden, Abigail Durrant, David Chatting, David Green, David Kirk
Anticipating an increasingly data-driven life, this speculative design project critically examines a future service called Abacus, for documenting weddings in the mode of the quantified self.

“At Abacus, we offer a full suite of wedding datagraphy services, personally tailored to you. Our services can help you plan for, collect and craft your personal data, into beautiful products and memories.”

Our design-led research explores how people may experience, envision and remember their lives with data – living with a ‘quantified past’. We present bespoke design work that took place with two couples engaged to be married. In the context of a ‘Speculative Enactment’, the couples met a ‘wedding datagrapher’ from Abacus, as part of the service on offer. Through this design-led, but empirically focussed work, we offer design reflections about making artefacts to remember a data-driven life. We introduce our practice of Speculative Enactments as a Research through Design (RtD) approach for generating consequential speculation with participants, and argue for new and diverse ways to present and interact with speculative design work.

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