Project overview

The emoto project captures and visualises the excitement around London 2012. This is a whole new way to experience and make sense of the pulse of the Olympic Games.

emoto captures and visu­al­ises the global response around the London 2012 Olympic Games on Twitter in an inter­active online visu­al­isa­tion and phys­ical data sculpture. As events unfold, emoto processes global twitter data and analyses the messages for content and emotional tone, which is then fed back to the viewer providing greater insight in real-time. After the Games, a physical data sculpture at the Cultural Olympiad closing event provides a truly unique interactive archive of the online response to London 2012.


Real-time data visualisation
Our real-time data visualisation shows both the big picture, the world from above, and the intimate and personal. In Topics View we see the big picture, which event, athlete or topic is generating the most attention in the moment, and the mix of positive and negative emotions for each. The anecdotal and ephemeral is seen in the Message Stream View, which shows Tweets in real-time as they were posted around the world. An overview on each day shows an even bigger picture, the trends and patterns.

Data Journalism
During the Games, the emoto team will blog about interesting findings in the digital visualisations – for example where a cluster of comments can be attributed to a particular event or sports person – providing a more in-depth analysis of these historic sporting events which are being experienced and shared by online audiences. We will analyse the data record, to discover and share stories which would be hard or impossible to find in any other way, and share with those involved including Team GB.

Data Sculpture
Once the Olympics have finished, all of the accumulated data is gathered and transformed into a data art sculpture, a unique archive. Millions of tweets with different emotional sentiment values representing the story of the Games are milled into 17 objects laid side by side, each representing one day of the Games. Onto this surface are projected some of the most compelling stories we discovered in the data.


emoto launches on 26 July online, the day before the Olympic Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, and provides a unique real-time manifestation of the worldwide mood in response to London 2012.

Created by artists Moritz Stefaner, Drew Hemment and Studio NAND, emoto is a FutureEverything project for the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad in the Northwest.


3 thoughts on “Project overview

  1. How is the ‘sentiment’ of these messages / tweets being judged exactly? A look at the “flow” of comments coming in, and how they are being categorised reveals that many are not in the right category. For example, somebody tweeting a link to an image of the 1948 athletes village is classed as “very negative”. Who says so? And why?

    Pretty visuals, but seems a lot like #BadScience to me… A triumph of whizz-bang interactive design over content, perhaps.

    • Thanks for your comment! Our spam system caught the message so sorry for the late publishing. We use the lexalytics salience engine for analysing the sentiments. As any automated language analysis system, it is based on heuristics that sometimes fail. After all, machines lack “real” intelligence and all the background knowlaedge needed to understand the fine nuances of language. But, speaking from experience, also with other comparable systems – I can say that we are – apart from the occasional, unavoidable glitch – very happy with the results. Hope that answers your question?

Leave a Reply to Eddie

Click here to cancel reply.