The US Elections had been a trending topic for a good part of 2016. With both candidates being controversial, the news and social media were rife with stories, facts and opinions of all sorts, and with the elections around the corner, people were taking to social media to show their support for the candidates. The idea was to somehow visualize this information in a interesting manner using LED lights.
Twitter Twitter On The Wall is a reflection of the support that the Presidential Candidates, Hillary and Trump were receiving on Twitter before the US Presidential Elections in 2016. Takings inspiration from Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Twitter Twitter on the Wall is an interactive art installation where tweeting in favour of Hillary would trigger an LED animation sequence from Left to Right and vice-versa for trump, replicating a twitter battle of tweets (Angry Birds isnpiration) being catapulted from one side to the other.
We had Hillary Clinton on one side, representing the Democrats or the Left and on the other hand we had Donald Trump representing the Republicans or the Right. In the US, the two dominant parties: the Democrats and the Republicans are known as the Left and the Right respectively, as they have contrasting ideologies. That is why in most posters, one can see Hillary Clinton being shown on the left and Donald Trump on the right.
There were 4 major aspects to the design inspiration:
Catapult, a mechanism for forcefully propelling stones, spears, or other projectiles at the enemy, which has been in use as a military weapon since ancient times. The Greeks and Romans used a heavy crossbowlike weapon known as a ballista to shoot arrows and darts as well as stones at enemy soldiers.
The series focuses on multi-colored birds that try to save their eggs from green-colored pigs, their enemies. As part fo the game, the player has to hurl birds using a catapult like device at the formation created by the pigs to proceed to the next level.
Twitter was being used a lot as a social media platform to discuss about election related topics and express support for their candidates.
The concept of the Magical Mirror was interesting. It depicted a wall-mounted a mirror which the Evil queen used to ask - "Mirror Mirror on The Wall". The Mirror acted as a know-it-all source of info to the queen to identify who was the most beautiful person in the kingdom.
The concept of "Twitter Twitter on the Wall" is an amalgamation of all these ideas into one. Using the twitter4j Java library on Processing, tweets are being queried for with definitive hashtags such as "Elections 2016" at frequent intervals. The string returned is being parsed for phrases like "VoteForHillary" or "VoteForTrump". Each time, there is a tweet in favor of Hillary, a sweep animation of LED lights is initiated from left to right, indicating a hurl of "Angry Birds" in the form of a tweet from the side of the Democrats towards the Republicans and vice versa. Thus, if one looks at the LED light wall, one can get an indication of the candidate having the upper hand, at least in the context of popularity in Twitter. And thus, extending the metaphor of the Magic Mirror to the LED Wall, one can almost inquire the probable winner of the Elections, "Twitter Twitter on the Wall..."
This was a solo project. I learnt how to use Twitter APIs using a Java library called Twitter4J which I used in Processing. This was a fun project where I learnt to quickly ideate on interactive installations and also see it through implementation. It was also interesting to see people's powerful reactions on something so simple. Although it me to explain it out aloud regarding what the light sequence actually means, one way to solve for it would be to have some kind of a placard/board asking passers by to actually see the installation come to life through their own interaction.