Love in the age of data, without data

April 14, 2017

Topic

Self-surveillance  /  ,

We live in a time when personal data leaves digital traces of what we do, what we like, and who we care about. Quinn Norton makes a concerted effort to not leave behind such traces using layers of security and encryption, which ironically makes for an old-fashioned love story.

My love affair has taught me that the age of data makes time solid in a way that it didn’t used to be. I have a calendar and email archive that nails down the when/where/who of everything I’ve done. I know when my kid was here; the last time I saw a friend in New York; exactly what my last email exchange with my mother was. Not so with my lover. Time is a softer thing for us. Sometimes it seems like he’s always been there, sometimes it seems like we’re a brand new thing. Every other relationship in my life is more nailed down than this one.

Soft time. I like it.