Textual Twitter T’ing

I’ve just returned from a trip to London, with mixed fortunes. I didn’t do quite what I wanted, but I’ve come back inspired. Its culminated with my mind being full of art stuff that I want to do – at some point. Twitter is going to be my starting point, as a dataset to work with. Anyhow. This is the story.

I failed to go to a party at Lo Recordings, which Leo invited me to, which was annoying. As it happened I made it to Old Street, and was waiting for a bus there, when my mobile phone died. It took with it the address I was going to, the contact numbers of the people there and any chance of finding the place. So I took the tube back to Fulham where I was staying. Effectively making a 2 hour round trip to nowhere. Making matters worse the travelling between Fulham (West) and Central & East made it impossible for me to go and see the first ever Starting Teeth gig – which was another annoyance.

On the plus side, I briefly met both members of Starting Teeth and Nathan Fake in some bar on Brick Lane. And indeed, it was the first time I’d ever been to Brick Lane so that was cool too….

Back to the point – when I was in London I also went to the Tate Modern and had a good look round. It was really good. I’m normally not the most attentive person, when looking round an art gallery, I have a relatively low boredom threshold – whether the art is good or bad – but here I was interested for the whole 2 hours or so I spent there.

However the best part was the bookshop. Now I’m not a big reader at all. In fact in the last 5 years I’ve probably read about 3 books. I used to read more, commuting almost makes reading a must. Due to having recently finished my University dissertation (or ‘extended essay’) I’ve had my head in a few books and a lot of websites, and have kind of got the bug a little bit again. So I found this book “Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow” (Victoria Vesna) – which I’m still reading – but I came across an interesting piece by Nancy Paterson, the stock market skirt (live webcam animation shown below).

In really simple terms, it works by tracking the stock market. The higher the market goes, the higher and tighter the hem line of the skirt gets. I think what began with Net artists in the 90s has brought about a boom in networked installations, like Paterson’s skirt. I guess the boom in networking and computing in general probably goes hand in hand with that though.

I’m interested in using Twitter – a kind of micro-blogging website – as the data source for a similar piece. The idea of using real world data, especially things that are easily accessible, and creating something more physically tangible out of it is a really interesting concept and a good area for artistic exploration.