I have written about one of Jonathan Harris’ projects before – back then it was Cowbird. Now it is something older, but nonetheless equally fascinating. “We feel fine” is a program, a piece of code written to detect human emotions all over the world as they are declared online on blogs.
Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world’s newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the “feeling” expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.).
The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 – 20,000 new feelings per day. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine’s Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on…
At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what’s on our blogs, what’s in our hearts, what’s in our minds. We hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life.
Once again, I am fascinated by Jonathan Harris’ vision to transform the otherwise static web into something very sensible and delicate packed with emotion!
“We feel fine” will hopefully stay live to tell the world how we all felt at a certain point in time or how we have developed as smaller or larger groups – and together with Cowbird we can actually depict and witness which events have gone on to shape our feelings now and in the future… It might never be statistically accurate, but it shows and stores real human emotions instantly as they occur and to me that is probably as true as it gets!
www.wefeelfine.org – Try it out and see how it makes you feel!
Check out Jonathan Harris’ other work on Behance