MYPOCKET, my new project launched on Turbulence.org, discloses my personal financial records to the world and predicts the future spending. To make the predictions I created a custom software that explores and reveales essential patterns in the daily transactions of my bank account. Sometimes I verify the predictions, sometimes I don’t mind, sometimes I am not conscious, sometimes the predictions determine my future choices, creating a system in which both myself and the software adapt one another.
MYPOCKET presents a three part interface to a living physical/digital process, which got many dimensions of responses from friends and colleagues. Some said “I want to use my bank transactions as well” and actually one of them sent a year of his bank transactions, some asked if I “want to start a new web service?”, some asked “what kind of a portrait is this?”, some compared to network visualizations, some read it as a “call for transparency in global economy”, some found it “brave!”, some found it “banal and intriguing”, some were excited to see what my rent is, some found the prediction model lacking. I am excited to hear all these and replying individually. But here I will try to address a few things.
I create systems, which mostly end up being complex. I couldn’t find a unified way of presenting a complex system yet. So this work ended up having a three part interface: a list, a graph, and an object.
First part is an RSS feed for predictions and actualized bank transactions. RSS feed is the most contemporary interface to a flow of data. Don’t even think about it, hook up your RSS readers to my bank account, on your handheld, on your laptop, on your whatever reader, you can reach my daily updated bank transactions anytime anywhere. An artwork, as open as it can be, not only for humans but also for machines.
Second part is a graph showing the dynamic relationships between transaction items and their effects changing overtime. This is the way I wired up the transactions to make the predictions. When the graph is processed, it generates a list, a list of predictions. Now rewind. When our activities are recorded, they are not always stored in a pure list format, they are in relation to other lists, which makes a graph, that is subject to analysis. For example, your activities in a social network service, or your bank transactions in the database of a financial firm are in the form of a graph, yet to be analyzed.
Third, predicted objects, objects whose being is predicted as a result of deliberate analysis + living. After a predicted transaction happens, I mark its receipt. Each marked receipt is a unique object, not only because it contains unique transaction information, but also its existence is predicted. Here I refer to master Duchamp’s readymades, the brilliant idea of 20th century art, found objects. If readymades –mostly mass produced objects– are found in the past, predicted objects are found in the future.
While creating this work I was highly inspired by today’s security politics and military condition. I will finish with a “poem” by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.
—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
From the collection of Rumsfeld’s poems on Slate.com.