PICNIC07: Jonathan Harris of We Feel Fine

Jonathan Harris of We Feel FineFirst movement: gathered sentiments from weblogs with an automated search, plots them onto a screen as moving dots, and implements clustering behaviour between them.

Second movement: gathered photos from these blog posts and mixes them with the sentiment.

Third movement: feeling breakdown of the overall population (most people feel "better" apparently). Also a gender breakdown (women slightly more prolific than men in blogging).

Fourth movement: plotting weather conditions at time-of-post and use this to implement behaviour of sentiments.

Fifth movement: statistical view.

Sixth movement: visualisation as gelatinous blobs.

Oodles of lovely data, categorised and related.

Passive observation leads to candid findings, because people don't know they're being watched.

New project, Universe: "is there a mythology we hold, as a species, today?" Is there a set of global stories affecting all our lives? Think about a new metaphor for organising information, beyond the web page - based on relationships.

A lot of his projects involve setting up simple rules, and running them over time (e.g. "gather all web pages including the phrase 'I feel'"). In Spring he subjected himself to the same sorts of rules his programmes follow - which led to The Whale Hunt. Jonathan decided to photograph the entire experience of living with an eskimo family hunting a whale at 5 minute intervals - even when sleeping (using a timer to take pictures). When exciting things happened he'd quicken the pace of photography, producing a sequence of images matching the pace of his heartbeat: 3214 pictures over 7 days.

Graphs excitement level over 7 day period, using intervals between photos to gauge excitement.

Also wanted to experiment with a new interface for human storytelling: taking an epic experience, documenting it, and looking for sub-stories. Filters on the photos let him whittle down pics by character, activity and themes.