Day-to-Day Data
Hannah Brown
Title: Daily Efficiency and Behavioural Analysis, Self-evaluation Checklist (DEBASC)
Location: Available at all gallery venues

Hannah has published an edition of 5000 DEBASC forms – The spoof of a bureaucratic document contains pages and pages of checklists for all the things that you should aim to get done in a day and the ways in which you should and should not behave. If completed religiously, the DEBASC would in fact take so long that it would be far from an efficient use of time. Instead the form allows us an insight into Hannah’s personal, social and work ideals. In the exhibition, a large pile of DEBASC forms is positioned on an office desk. Visitors can take the forms home or fill them in there and then, to test if they can match up to Hannah’s strict daily regime.
detail from DEBASC guidance notes
detail from DEBASC guidance notes
‘Not enough hours in the day? Feeling stressed and taking it out on your loved ones? Losing your grip on life? Do not despair; help is at hand! Aided by DEBASC you can monitor and develop a successful work / life balance. With a daily and weekly analysis of your emotional profile and task efficiency reflected in easy to read charts it will soon become clear where it’s all been going wrong!’ DEBASC promotional pamphlet.

The Daily Efficiency and Behavioural Analysis, Self-evaluation Checklist (DEBASC) was formed as a satire of certain values within British society and the anxieties I experience myself, for work and social ideals. It is designed to be over the top, to the point of absurdity, examining a range of everyday activities. Indeed, the time taken to read the instructions and collect the data would be counterproductive, generating yet another chore – reflecting on the very nature of the checklist’s content.

The checklist is broken down into two main sections: efficiency and behaviour. It is then divided into sub-categories and individual tasks. It became clear to me in the production stage that the activities it is designed to scrutinise are in fact the data: my daily routine, self-perception and aspirations are all clearly laid out within the daily ‘tasks’. As a prolific list-writer / procrastinator, the taxonomy and design of the checklist took precedence. Whenever I went to fill in the DEBASC I was left making changes to the layout or wording instead.

DEBASC is designed to sit somewhere between an organisational skills service and a bureaucratic form. It appears impersonal at first glance. The layout is a fake NHS / Benefits Agency form (with the sentimentality of a 1950’s home management guide thrown in for good measure) but on closer inspection it is extremely intimate. This is a highly personalised form, relevant for only a limited amount of time.

Hannah Brown
April 2005

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