Immersion represents email networks

email sentImmersion is an interesting website developed by the MIT Media Lab

What does Immersion do?

Immersion takes your entire Gmail history and converts it into a visual network. When you log in, Immersion uses the From, To, Cc and Timestamp fields of your email. It does not access the subject or the content of email. From this data Immersion generates a network analysis graphic

This snapshot below is generated from email I have written since 2004 which was when I started to use Gmail. To my amazment I have sent 91,015 emails in that time. Remember this is the email I have written, not spam.

The graphs produced confirmed something I have often complained about. For the last 2 years I have felt that email was consuming more and more of my time and this data backed it up!

If you don’t mind, Immersion accessing your Gmail account it is fun and interesting. I have used Gmail since 2004 which means that in those archives sits a type of personal history. Immersion presents users with different perspectives of their data and made me realise how email is now an important part of my past, or I should say our past as what is represented is not an individuals personal data alone, but as this data sits in wider network of communications.

email network screen

Blogging Sonder

Could  the German word Sonder be used to describe blogging? I was once told, that writing a blog was egotistical, but what you learn when you regularly hit that publish button on a blog is how insignificant you actually are.

What is important to the writer is not necessarily even read by family and friends, let alone strangers. On the wider internet, as a blogger you appear “As an extra sipping coffee in the background. As a blur of traffic passing on the highway. As a lighted window at dusk.”

From a Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows written by John Koenig the word sonder

sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own





collage detail 1 Tones and Tints is a self indulgence, written purely in order to take time to think, reflect  and record impressions about what ever topic has attracted my attention.

In this complex and diverse world we live an avalanche of interesting material which competes for our attention. Tones and Tints is a bi-product of a process of me selecting a little bit of what passes in front of me and pausing to focus on it for a moment. I am one of those people for whom, in the process of writing, an idea reveals itself. In taking time to slow down, think and write I make sense of, and discover more about what I have encountered.

Drawing leads me to notice more about my world and understand a little better. When I draw  I have to focus and observe to understand the structure of  the object I have chosen to draw. I keep a visual journal in response to what I see. For me drawing is not about a finished piece of Art with a capital A, but an activity that leaves a trace that we call a drawing.  Drawing mundane everyday objects can result in seeing  the ordinary things in an extraordinary light.

decorative icon

Travel stirs curiosity, is a tonic for creativity, invites change, and makes me question my assumptions. By stepping out a daily routine, travel gives me quite literally, a different angle and viewpoint to see the world. Travel exposes me to other cultures and peoples at a time when I am taking a break from my normal everyday routine. This means I have time to think about the experience, and be challenged by the great complex diversity the world can offer us.

If someone insisted on a  list of topics I anticipate covering on Tones and Tints  I would say it’s my personal take on drawing, writing, reading and when I have the opportunity travelling, but that would be a little too bare a description.