Today we enlist the help of artist Pierre Buttin to reflect on the fragmentation of our digital lives. He explains how he generated the images of his installation ‘Day on Device’:

“For a week, everytime I switched from one app to another on my phone or my laptop, I took a screenshot. I’ve then compiled all the screenshots I’ve taken during the day in one single image . To do so, I’ve divided the screen height by the number of screenshots I’ve taken this day. This gave me the size of the strips I had to cut. I cut one strip in each screenshot, depending on when it was taken during the day. The earliest screenshot of the day is at the bottom, while the latest is at the top. A single image was then generated. The more strips, the more I’ve switched apps that day.”

Visit his website to see the different images and how space is used to illustrate more/less fragmentation. How does your daily engagement with different apps and websites look like? Which day in the installation is more like your everyday? An easy way to do this is to count open browser windows for a week and reflect on what is focus and what is distraction in those numbers. Or you might make it a project to screenshot and create your own week of a day on a device…

Buttin tells the Verge that “Indeed, the idea of multitasking makes me feel good and productive; yet in practice, it often results in a continuous stream of interruptions and lack of focus, and at the end of the day, I have the impression to have accomplished nothing — which makes me sad.” You may want to read the full article ‘This is what the nightmare of multitasking looks like’. 

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