Living data

The intersection of data and representation is an rich area soaked in wonderfully tactile, beautiful visual and visceral experimentation… but these data sculptures, based on the moods of the artist Martin Kim Luge‘s online friends, just hit the sweet spot for me.

Entitled Weeping Willow (l) and Rose of Jericho(r), they scrobble the mood tags on social network portals such as facebook, and “communicate in some level the presence of the others‘ mental state without direct contact.”

The Rose of Jericho “reads the mood adjective at the friends myspace-account in realtime from the internet. The adjective is compared against a database to map a numerical value to the emotion. This value defines the duration of the water pump controlled by a microcontroller, which is irrigating the Rose of Jericho. The higher the value the more water is arriving to the plant.”

“Every branch of the Weeping Willow stands for an online friend symbolically and the slope of a single branch is communicating their happiness or sadness. In other words: the happier the friend, the higher the branch will grow. If the branch hangs, it might be a high time to phone or visit him or her. Once a week the branches are sent to the user by post, and the recipient can put together a new tree to the growing forest himself. The branches are cut as construction set by laser-cutting and is sent by post to the user (and…) with a cup of coffee every Sunday you put the branches to the weeping willow together. Carefully you break the botton and the branches from the wooden board. Every branch is individually labelled and has a unique slot in the bottom plate. There is a clear assignment of friend and you can see easily the developing of moods. As weeks go by, a growing forest of weeping willows are collated, manifesting the collective state of one‘s social network.”

Wow. I want one.

NOTE: Apologies for so much paraphrasing, but its such a poetic idea that the artist’s own words do it great justice, and thanks for one of my favourite blogs, infosthetics, for the heads up.

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