Last week I wrote about Michale Landy’s art dumpster project, where he’s turned the South London Gallery’s floor space into a giant glass walled dumpster where artists can throw away their work. This week, and especially because Valentines Day is fast approaching, I’d like to clue you in to another sort of dumpster- an interactive one that contains what’s left of 20,000 fragile, love-torn teenage hearts. In the process I’ll introduce you to a destination for interactive creative projects that are sponsored and endorsed by the Tate and the Whitney.
The Dumpster is an online data display that chronicles the breakup comments of 20,000 angst-ridden teenagers, as reported in their own words from their 2005 blog sites. The comments are personal and heartfelt snippets that are irresistible, at least for the first few clicks…then they all start to look and sound the same.
For example, a random click just now gave me this post:
“ok, where should I begin? First of all I put red streaks in my hair last night. They look AWESOME! Ok, now the sad part…my boyfriend Michael, broke up with me this morning…”
The UI for the database is based on semantic queries where the posts are represented by red dots of various sizes and tones. Click on a dot and a blog snippet appears on the screen, keep clicking and the comments stack up in boxes on the right. The dot size and color represent the degree of similarity for the currently selected post to those around it, including author gender, similar issues, tone of voice, etc… There are various timeline and micro/macro views to help you look at and explore the data, and it all has a look and fell that’s very interactive and real-time. You initiate an action and the UI responds. Exploration ensues.
The Dumpster is one of many interactive projects at the Whitney Artport, an online collection of experimental UX creativity founded in 2001. Many of the projects listed interpret the freeform visual interpretation of data, although it’s interesting to watch the shift to social themes and ideas as the project timeline moves into the latter part of the decade. There are some hits and misses in the project list, but for me, that just indicates that it truly is an experimental space where people can take risks as they try to figure out where interactive is going. There are no commercial constraints here, just the thoughtful pushing of boundaries.
Go check it out, and if you like what you see, you should also take a look at the Tate Online’s Intermedia Art site, which chronicles sound, interactive, and rich media projects, many of which were cosponsored with the Whitney. Oh and BTW, if anyone at the Whitney is reading this, the 2002 design of the current Artport site is definitely showing it’s age, especially next to the fresh, clean, and supple feel of the Tate site. Time for a redesign guys.
Add your comments…let me know what you think.