Photo Credit: Megan Smith
Pst! is the surreptitious beckoning of attention and the acronym for Physical Space Tweets. It is a small storyteller installed in public space giving an audience a glimpse into someone else’s life or a window into a topic feed. For the Leeds Pavillion at Mediamatic's Amsterdam Biennale (10/09-01/10) Pst! chronicled life in Leeds through it's twitter feed, aligning itself with the Biennale's aim to showcase a city’s local cultural scene. Pst! physically and geographically locates a public social narrative.
The piece pulls an information feed from Twitter profiles geographically aligned to Leeds using Twitter's geocode API. Using the open source Arduino electronic platform, the internet, and an LCD screen these small devices visually chirp out 140 character Twitter feeds. This project places verbal content and technology into a new space for an un-targeted audience by extending the space where interaction occurs. The screen and hardware allude to miniature advertising billboards but discuss and distribute life feeds. They are physical messengers for a passing audience and in the instance of the Biennale chronicled a cities social activity.
Watching the stream at different times of the day or week renders a picture of Leeds' community and activity. There is a clear distinction between the feed on a Tuesday evening when the Yorkshire Post may be announcing a new job call and people are commenting on the latest Dr. Who episode to Friday and Saturday nights when Leeds, a city known for it's wild nightlife becomes a colourful and engaging drama documenting the happenings across the city from bears in tutu's spotted outside the Corn Exchange to a mad rush to a secret gig at the Brudenell. By removing the peripheral of the computer and the profile windows associated with looking at a Twitter feed a Pst! device can be placed in a non-space providing a focus on the single message that changes with each update slowly threading a narrative together. It is a window directly into a geolocated public space.
The project stems from current art practice that investigates creative acts of identity placemaking within the digital domain. It brings attention to the messenger’s practice and emotions by showcasing a community life stream in the public domain.
Notes: the boxes in the right image are made by No Fixed Abode and the film was by artists Gundun Kattke & Silvia Leibig
arduino, LCD, twitter geocode API, internet