Ever since humanity has reasoned about the world these faculties have also been turned inward for self-analysis. Understanding the body, the mind, and the self is a process of accounting driven by intense seeing. The scientific revolution, the industrial revolution and now the information revolution have each developed new tools that augment our senses, allowing us to turn inward with greater depth and ease. The result is a qualitative change in our ability to see ourselves.
The quantified self is concerned with works that explore both the process and meaning of measurement. How do artists collect self-information; how is it stored and communicated to others? Alternatively, how do artists react to the collection of personal information by other groups such as commercial or governmental interests; is this sharing or surveillance? How is this abundance of abstract information transformed into something sensible and meaningful? Some examples include: DNA profiles, psychographics, systems for self-monitoring such as sleep patterns or purchasing activity, bio-feedback, daily recordkeeping of eating and other behaviors, and obsessive collecting of self-defining artifacts.