Thesis: Final Concept and Installation

April 25, 2009

Poetical Crisis is a screen based art installation that uses live online news feeds, data processing, and typographic visual imagery to combine Fine Arts with computation in a gallery piece focused on crisis news media.

I have created a real time art piece that can be portable for a gallery or exhibition space. It lives on internet connection to RSS data feeds which it scrapes to display changing visuals. It will reveal contemporary society’s complex manifestation of crisis, as it stands at the forefront of our consciousness, due to the immediacy of news and prevalence of media sensationalism and hype.

Poetical Crisis speaks to contemporary society and the conditions we live in. The complex manifestation of crisis is revealed as it stands at the forefront of our consciousness due to the immediacy of news and the prevalence of media sensationalism and hype. Over time, the media’s exposure of crisis of seen through the production of salient and contextual words resonating with these issues. News media data is searched and processed to unfold the complexity of the crisis phenomenon through art and visual poetry focusing on the power of shortened language and typographic visualization. With the idea that the replication of certain words generates rather than reflects a situation, language is used as a filter through which we perceive and condition the world.

Initial design questions:

  • Is there any area of human activity not currently in Crisis?
  • How do certain words replicate to such an extent that they generate rather than reflect a situation?
  • How do we use language as a filter through which we perceive and condition the world?



A New Precedent: Edward Ruscha

February 23, 2009


The Works of Edward Ruscha
by Dave Hickey and Peter Plagens, Introduction by Anne Livet with forward by Henry T. Hopkins
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, 1982

  • lifts the curtain on the commonplace sights and sound we no longer see or hear and makes us react to them as we never have before or will again
  • “reads” words, titles, slogans, and sentences from books on our common character that only exist in his imagination
  • often yanks the viewer into canvases to roam about and make our own determination of what we see and sense
  • all like to read his roadmaps differently according to own lights: freedom of new perception – art that jiggles and rearranges our mental landscape, quickens and refreshes our native sensibilities.
  • made collages of juxtaposed images and words: resonant device – refines tactics of collage, isolating and combining words and images to increasingly subtle ways – personal rhetoric that is literal and literary

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Kinetic Type – Inspiration

February 17, 2009

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Beginning of the end: Feedback from Fall Overview

January 28, 2009

Consider the successful aspects of Listening Post:

1. Multiple viewpoints
a) sequencing
b) phrasing
c) narrative

Rich Expensive
a) complex meaning and understanding of the world
b) sense of multiplicity

Break Listening Post down:
Reflect its strategy and analysis tactics

Break down crisis to its discrete issues (economy, healthcare, etc) to try to create a larger picture of what crisis means = identify this!

Eliciting the overwhelming fear, hype, etc of crisis

Create a taxonomy of different types of crises

Listening Post interview with Ben Rubin:

  • Got as many chat rooms as possible to get a broad range of chat rooms
  • Adapted the project to monitor the activity
  • Very disorganized, misprecise language stream of words, pulls chat rooms apart and puts them together as a form of art
  • About where your imagination goes with the project and how you can imagine the context of the disembodied statements
  • Word sequences in a rotations of sections: each section has its own logic; there’s randomness to certain parts of it, but there is an underlying logic to it
  • “I am” was the number 1 most common first few words of any chat utterance
  • Algorithm scoops phrases and organizes them in order from shortness to longest
  • Another section shows the least frequently occurring words in the last few hours
  • Structured movements to a theatrical degree or like a song, so their structured but build up to some degree
  • Each one has a compositional logic, “i am” starts in center and then builds up randomly and then the whole thing irises back to central screen
  • Others sweep across one direction or the other
  • Started out by wondering what data would be interesting to listen to? treating the language itself as data? count words and perform linguistic analysis
  • Collect masses of text from chatrooms, anaylze it and treat it as data
  • Requires a certain number of messages per day in order to function and be varied
  • Broadly representative of chat rooms

Wow, a really awesome precedent/design inspiration

December 6, 2008



Final Steps for Fall and Some new research…

November 26, 2008


From Christopher Alexander:

“a pattern language is about patterns being like words. They stay the same but can be combined in different ways like words in a sentence. They can be used as in a network where one will call upon another (like a neuron network). When you build something you can put patterns together to form a language. So a language for you house might have patterns about transitions, light, ceiling height, connecting the second floor to the ground.” *


* His work is applied more to architecture, but he presents some interesting analysis into patterns that can be applied to what I’m trying to do with my thesis


Meeting notes, other notes, and references

November 4, 2008

RSS feeds of querries:

  • phrases have to be in double-quotes like > “”Barack Obama””
  • to boost search results > “”Barack Obama””^4 (carat and position number – 1 is the default
  • key quotes about the topic/phrase

Jonathan Harris’s 10×10 and Lovelines are two new precedents that heavily relate to the output that I’m aiming to produce.

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