Reflections on emoto



This is a whole new way to experience and have a bird’s eye perspective on big events.

emoto captured and visualised the emotional intensity around the London 2012 Olympic Games, and provided a unique ‘peoples’ perspective on events as they happened.

Based on analysis of approx. 12.5 million Twitter messages, emoto presented both the big picture, the world from above, as well as the intimate and personal details enabling the viewer to zoom right in to specific detail. The dynamic nature of evolving news stories within the Olympic Games could be followed online via emoto, providing greater insight in real-time and an alternative perspective to that found in standard (eg TV) sport media coverage, or in the live experience for fans.

emoto was a data art project which set out to generate beauty and meaning out of the everyday interactions of millions of people.

The development and design of the online emoto visualization took a significant amount of time, developing and testing systems, building infrastructure as well as all of the front-end design and interface development of emoto. The team strove to ensure the creation of a real-time visualization that was original and insightful in its perspective; that it was accurate, dynamic and also beautiful, in making a vast amount of data immediately understandable to viewers in a moment through a couple of clicks of a mouse.

We had to jump many hurdles, from London 2012 branding restrictions to a change in the Terms of Service of Twitter. New limits on use of Twitter data meant entirely new infrastructure had to be built just two weeks prior to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

A special quality of emoto is that the data is archived in its entirety. This means that there is the possibility for continued research and investigation, using the information after the Games have concluded.

The emoto data sculpture video documentation can be seen via the Studio NAND vimeo channel.

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