Thursday Inspiration

by Esther Emery

In honor of Missy, who keeps saying she’d like to follow my web travels for a day, here’s a Thursday Inspiration directly out of my bookmark page.  Although my current blogroll is pretty recently acquired, I’ve been plugged in at the heart since I discovered the Hype Machine back in 2006. For those of you not acquainted, the Hype Machine is an mp3 blog aggregator. It surveys the entire expanse of the Internets for blog posts that contain music files. I found it by chance while working on the sound design for some show or another. I picked through. I poached. I started making the best mixtapes ever, and my coolness factor increased exponentially. Thanks, Hype Machine.

In 2006, a blog-surveying data collection engine seemed like a novel idea. Now there are hundreds of aggregators that whirl and click away, polling and cataloging the blogosphere according to any number of consumer profiles.  But, in the same way that you still listen to that song that came out your senior of high school–you know, the one that was playing when you went to that one place with that one person?  Uh huh, you know how it is.  I have a serious soft spot for the original.  

We Feel Fine, by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, is a web installation described as “An exploration of human emotion in six movements.”  I love it.  I love it even though it takes forever to load and is so, like, two-and-a-half years ago. I love the 80’s-colored neon dots floating around attached to phrases like, “I feel that is something everyone needs to remember not only sacians,” and “I just hate this routine and don’t know how to change it and I feel like I only live for the weekends and I hate that.”  (The latter posted by a 19 year old in New Jersey.) 

It also has photos. Or you can set it to “murmurs” and watch the phrases appear on your screen as if you’re seeing them typed by the source. I find myself hoping that noone walks in on me, it’s all so painfully gauche and human and exposed.  Some days I’ll pluck random feelings from the random-feeling plucker and use them to sketch characters.  But most days I just stare. 

The most common feeling is “better.”  Hmm.  

If you’ve never seen it, go.

And then there’s Twistori.  It’s prettier. It’s sleeker. It’s more efficient. It’s so, like, 2008.  It filters all the tweets on Twitter by phrases like “I love,” and “I wish,” and parades them in front of you. It’s endless. It’s exhausting. It’s a fabulous performance piece. Check it out, but have your exit plan ready, mouse perched over the back button, before you get sucked in!  Bwah ha ha…

Happy Thursday.