10 Years by Louise Shorten

The concept behind these two data arts pieces is quite simple. I find it remarkable that we rarely celebrate parenting milestones to the same extent that we celebrate birthdays. For me the journey of becoming a mother has been monumental and one that I think warrants reflection and celebration at various points along the way. I wanted to create something visually pleasing that represented one substantial milestone e.g. the 10 year mark. I created a data-set in Excel as the basis for the visualisations. Each view comprises ten rings to represent the 10 years. There are 52 points to represent the weeks, and seven circles at each point to represent the days (3650 circles in total). My goal was to create something abstract, without labels or explanations. I wanted to design something that might look nice as a framed print or card. I’ve submitted two versions, an image with five different colours and an image in blue. The former attempts to capture the various emotions that can be experienced during the parenting journey. Red represents love, green for serenity, yellow for joy, blue for sadness and black for anger. Often all these emotions exist alongside one another, thus is the varied and challenging job of raising children. I’ve randomised the colour assignment to symbolise the varying degrees to which each feeling features and how on different days, different emotions will dominate. The circles are sized in a random way to reflect the varying levels of success and competency we feel along the way. It’s not a linear process, but one with constant change and learning and the overall view is symbolic of this. I chose just one colour for the second version to represent the same variability but without the representation of the different emotions.