An amazing aspect of the internet is that it connects people. We like to think that, more than sharing information online, people share emotions. Everyday more than 500 million posts are being tweeted, and it’s as many data we can collect to gauge the mood of the global community. That’s why we created, e.motion.
e.motion is an artwork given life by the data gathered from the emojis in tweets. It is a mechanical heart which beats on the pace of the collective emotions in the world, in a country, in a city or through a hashtag... For its first demonstration, e.motion was beating with the emotions of its city of birth, Amsterdam. Every emojis spotted within a tweet are sorted into 12 different emotions: motivation, angry, festive, confused, disgusted, fancy, horny, fear, hungry, joyful, in love, and sad. Every emotions is symbolized by a floating ball. These balls, linked to their individual motors, are being pulled and pushed depending on the number of related emojis that have been used during the last few minutes on Twitter. This way, the 12 balls, also linked to each other with wires, create a lively cloud of emotions, a sculpture modulated by the mood of the Internet.
AN ARTISCTIC DATA VISUALIZATION
When we imagined this installation, we didn’t want it to share data in a regular way. We didn’t want it to give precise numbers, because we didn’t find it relevant, but we wanted to give a feeling, like an artwork. Indeed, this data visualization is abstract: there is no way to precisely understand how many smiling emojis have been sent today in Amsterdam, but e.motion give you a general feeling based on how fast the balls move, in which direction and on how different the sculpture can be shaped, according to the time, events, locations…
A MODULAR AND PERSONALIZED INSTALLATION
We wanted this installation to be completely modular. Every module represent an emotion : a floating ball, its frame and a motor. We based this first version of e.motion on 12 feelings. But this number can be reduced or increased, in order to refine the data visualization or to specify it to a particular need. Moreover, the tweets collected can be filtered, specifying a particular location, author, hashtag… Finally, we designed a structure to gather every components in order to make our e.motion autonomous, but the motors can be fixed on walls, grounds to hang this sculpture in the air or adapt it to the space where it is exhibited.
FROM APPEARANCES TO AUTHENTICITY
On social network, users build their own image, choosing to show or hide specific aspects of their life. So one tweet on a profile may not reveal any kind of true emotion, but our claim was that every tweet of a community, once combined, could unveil a general trend, a mutual feeling. That’s why, with all its roughness and bareness, e.motion is also a comment on the realness of our digital lives. While pure white papers, with all their flaws and fragile natures, portray our ‘ever-good’ online self-image, and reflects people trying to hide their true selves and, thus, betraying a certain faithfulness. e.motion, the genuine mechanic heart of our online presence, doesn’t hide, it doesn’t try to be beautiful, it doesn’t try to be something that it is not; it is brutal and open with all its bare materials and structure.