The Quantified Self

The Quantified Self is a single channel video exploring the boundaries between self care and auto-surveillance in relation to its eponymous movement.

Cezar Mocan


In Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault talks about external structures imposed on the body – for control, or other reasons –, and ways we have internalized them:

“Like the timetable, exercise derives from the practices of monasteries, and is yet another way of regulating the body through activity. Prayer, which was aimed at salvation, and military drills are examples of this original form of exercise. The key shift came when the purpose of exercise changed from the benefit of the individual to control.”

The Quantified Self engages with this idea by exploring the boundary between self care and self surveillance, in relation to its eponymous movement. Q, a narcissistic virtual being – a businessman – who has been tracking his body and behaviors since the beginning of his life, shares a series of deeply personal thoughts about his internal conflict around collecting data on himself.

The Quantified Self movement involves tracking personal data pertaining to the body (e.g. sleep over a period of time,) emotional state, physical shape, and so on. It can be an incredible tool for learning more about one’s unconscious habits, practicing self-care, or making great data art. At the same time, it can become a slippery slope when taking the direction of gathering data on yourself as a means towards becoming more productive, or increasing a body's efficiency.

Performative Avatars