In the year leading up to the 2016 election, assistant professor of design Jiayi Young began collecting Twitter data that she turned in to an artwork she describes as “social media as cyborg.”
“I wanted to come up with ways to visualize the data beyond dots and lines on screens — something non-conventional that stuck with the viewer and bridges big data with human cognition,” she said. “I could feel very viscerally in my body what was happening and wanted to translate it into a physical manifestation. There was a sense of urgency I felt — like the urgency of a medical emergency.”
The goal is to accurately represent 6.5 million Twitter user activities and 620,000 election related tweets and identify the most influential social media robots and reveal their powerful influence on a global scale.
The most recent iteration of the project “What Does the Bot Say to the Human?” was made of IV bags filled with a glowing green solution, a tangle of 300 tiny wires with lights at each end and 60 speakers.