Seven Days by Sarah Emery Clark

Seven Days is an ongoing project where I gather volunteers' unique stories as data-sets and explore new ways of visualizing them through drawing. I work with participants to examine how art might overcome the limitations of language to adequately tell our stories. I aim to build intimacy in times of both physical and psychological isolation by fleshing out the personal nature of information. Together, we discover art as a tool for knowing ourselves and each other.

I began drawing the project in an effort to build self-awareness during a challenging time. Looking for a meaningful way of describing my experiences, I began exploring how perceptual data might appear, rendered as drawings, as it moves through seven days of linear time.

We’re used to seeing information presented visually in charts and diagrams. I’m offering a different system, based on the same principles but with visual outcomes that are unique to each person. Imagine each drawing as a window into an intimate biome of self. The same forms repeat, but in different arrangements based on the data. The day’s story develops in the interactions between these forms. Strung together in the sequence of a week, larger patterns emerge.

Thanks to funding from Canada Council for the Arts, I was able to explore this concept in-depth. With the onset of Covid I pivoted the project, using the data-drawing system I’d developed to build connection during isolation. It felt like drawing a line, where I'm holding one end and someone else the other, so we're both less alone. As an ongoing work, I’m building a set of drawings for each participant.

My hope is that this work can help people build self-awareness through examining their perceptual data. The private spaces I describe are not always beautiful. What’s beautiful is the acknowledgement and sharing of them: meeting someone else in the muck and the honesty. Engaging with people through my materials is my way of expressing care for them.