I feel… everything

Recently my friend and ex colleague Hannah Storie pointed me towards a wonderful piece of online art called ‘We Feel Fine’ http://www.wefeelfine.org. We feel fine is a work of art both on the level of… well art and looks to be a beautiful demonstration of the programmer’s art. As an artist and as a programmer I feel many things… Jealous (but in a positive way), inspired, touched… it makes me feel lighter of spirit.

To tell the truth I had almost given up on the idea that (great) art could happen on the medium of the computer screen. I’ve tried – the results have been so so… and i can’t really think of anything much I’ve seen that works…

There is a great deal of beauty on the internet… films, photographs, design, typography but this isn’t art. The power of art is that it transcends, but there is no route to it because it is about errors and leaps of faith and the spaces between things (both physical and notional). I used to love the work of Jared Tarbell at www.levitated.net (actually I still do) but it always felt trapped by the screen and seems infinitely better now it has escaped into art galleries (I haven’t seen any pieces in the flesh but would love to)…

Anyway back to ‘We Feel Fine’… they describe waht they do far more elegantly than I could…

Mission

We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale.

Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world’s newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the “feeling” expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.

The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 – 20,000 new feelings per day. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20s? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine’s Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on.

Go and see it today – now.

We Feel Fine We Feel Fine