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Data Mapping of 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Twitter Activity
Phase I: Djerassi Scientific Delirium Madness 3.0, Mountain View, CA 2016
Phase II: CuriOdyssey Museum, San Mateo, CA 2016
Phase II.5: Basement Gallery, University of California, Davis, CA 2016
Phase III: Pence Gallery, Davis, CA, February 2017
Phase III: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, February 2017
Concept and Art Direction: Jiayi Young
Concept and Data: Weidong Yang
Technology Direction: Shih-Wen Young
Choreography (when incorporated): Daiane Lopes da Silva
This project, with its multiple phases, seeks to transform the 2016 United States Presidential Election data into a large-scale immersive environment to provoke thought as to how social media assumes form and dominates the shaping of the future of a nation. By mapping election data into flickering lights, ticking sounds, and the exchange of fluid between IV bags, the installation recounts Twitter activates on the topic from February 2016 to the election date of November 8, 2016. It exposes the inner mechanisms of a world where true human tweets and tweets generated by Twitter Bots mutually influence each other and propagate inseparably as a combined voice. The installation allows the examination of the machine world infiltration that shifted the generative entropic propagation of social media influence on this U.S. election, and provides a physical space for contemplating the significant challenges social media post in our understanding of the social fabric and the radical transformation of the ways in which we now relate to each other.
Since February 2016, we have collected Twitter data at the rate of 10 GB per day. The first two prototyping phases took place earlier in 2016. Phase I of the project, Twitter Rain, took place during the Djerassi Artist Residency Open House on July 24, 2016, where we ran preliminary tests for the concept. July 19, 2016, was the second day of the Republican National Convention. One point eight million election-related hashtagged tweets were generated worldwide on that day. We took the top 9 hashtags and mapped the tweet rate for each hashtag into water drops dispensing from IV bags. Corresponding to its real-time timestamps, water dripped from the bags at the rate of which the tweets were generated. This experiment was published on Leonardo Online. Phase II of the project, Fields of Gold, was held at the CuriOdyssey Museum, San Mateo, CA on September 17, 2016. During this phase, the project was furthered to test-map 100 sets of Twitter data into lights and sound.
We are currently collaborating with Professor Shuguang Cui’s big data analytics research group at UC Davis to identify major influencers in the game, uncovering the propagation patterns within the data, and differentiating human tweets from AI tweets. Using similar visual representation of light, sound, and IV bags, this next iteration will map 300 units in the space. The experiments conducted in phase I and II, combined with new research findings, will culminate into one installation where data patterns and influencer relations unfold in an immersive environment.