Linz Bunt Blitz
Linz Bunt Blitz: A Zeitgeist in RGB is a media facade project visualizing the data from psycholinguistic analysis of the news from the region. This project was on show every night during Ars Electronica Festival 2010 on Ars Electronica center LED facade.
The connection between media facades and the urban life and its circumstances - whether direct or metaphorical - has always been one of the main ideas of projects implemented for these public displays. The high visibility of these facades and the symbolic relationship of them to the inhabitants of the city, provides lots of potentials for implementation of ambient and ubiquitous presentation of information which is a novel method of presenting information in the age which information overload is becoming the day in day out subject of human life. These themes have been researched and prototyped very often in the works of Tangible Interfaces Department of the MIT Media Lab. Text as a method of communication and providing information can still be considered one of the most omnipresent and successful methods in the field, but in the presence of a hypermedia like the Internet, one can easily find itself overwhelmed by the amount of textual information which can be studied on a certain subject. Though reading as a personal experience can hardly be replaced by any other method, but data/information visualization, psycholinguistics, and computational linguistics are different novel approaches as a way to grasp some of main characteristics of big corpus of text in less amount of time and in a more tangible way.
Every day, the text content from a list of local newspapers websites, blogs, and twitter feeds from Linz and the province of Upper-Austria was aggregated. These contents were stored and analyzed using computational and psycholinguistic methods which results the characteristics of the text (i.e. positivity, negativity, formality, informality). These characteristics were mapped using varying shades, colours, and patterns to give a general feeling of the texts collected during the day. The outcome was projected on the facade of Ars Electronica Center 10 minutes every night at the same time.
- PyFacade, released under GPLv2.
- Andreas Pramböck, head of engineering in Ars Electronica Futurelab at the time (now at AE Solutions), who provided the needed access to the Ars Electronica LED facade and the related software libraries.
- Dan Wilcox who developed a framebuffer library, simulator, and OSC driven graphics engine for the Ars Electronica media facade for providing me with his pre-release code for reference.
- Tim Devine for his important conceptual feedback and helping with the video documentation.
- Mahir M. Yavuz for the very important feedbacks on the visual language of the project.