Embodied interfaces for digital identities

Skeens (from “skin” and “screen”) is an exercise of exploration and decoding of a user’s private data stored by one of the social networks of greater popularity and scope of the last decade. It is an attempt to reconcile the digital and analogical identities of Internet users in a connected society. 

Skeens approaches this challenge through a process-driven exercise in which the artist will learn to decode, read and understand her own digital footprint and re-interpret it through its reincarnation in the physical world. Traditional, women-lead, manufacturing techniques, such as spinning, crochet or weaving are the tools used for this transformation, allowing the artist to create textile interfaces of domestic proportions made from everyday materials, such as her own clothes.

After learning to manipulate the dataset, the information is dissected into 3 main categories: self edition, regarding the actions of self-referral and self construction online, interaction, regarding the actions of communication and exchange with other users of the network, and automated registers, regarding the information about the user gathered by the system for analytic or commercial purposes.

The action of weaving itself faces the dissociative processes inherent in the functioning of the digital infrastructures. Weaving works on the one hand as an exercise in archeology on the digital identity, allowing to discover and remember, and on the other, it allows to recover the time invested in the connected existence through a non-productive action. 

Confronting this data into the physical world arises new questions and activates relations not possible within the screens: how heavy are my likes? How do my last summer’s pictures feel? How much does my digital identity occupy? Can I identify with it?

Different embodiments are proposed.


Private data from Facebook. Recycled, woven clothes. 

© Elisa Cuesta, 2018


The first phase of Skeens was developed by Elisa Cuesta during the postgraduate course MIAU-ETSAM.