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Twitter installation: Clouds for Bad Bankers (developed by Transforming Freedom)

12. Mai 2009

The scope of artistic interventions that become possible with Twitter is probably immeasurable. At Transforming Freedom (the web culture initiative I joined last late summer), we’re trying to get our fingers dirty as well and have set up a very, very low tech installation at the Quarter for Digital Culture (QDK) that also involves Twitter.

But it also involves human technology, or rather, the human-as-technology, which is one of the least reliable technological systems available to date. Think Seveso, think Tchernobyl, think the current economic crisis, of course (the upside of this miserable technology that is mankind: the perfect simulation of our flaw-ridden world is impossible, we will therefore never be fed into the matrix, as the matrix wouldn’t be nor progess without us).

Clouds for Bad Bankers

Our installation, the working title of which I hereby proclaim as „Clouds for Bad Bankers“, is thus not only based on the magic that is the Twitter API in conjunction with hashtags, it also requires that we, the enablers at Transforming Freedom, regularly jump into action, that we examine our dedication to the project. It is, however, already apparent that we will fail miserably.

Here is the layout of the installation: We have set up an ugly, bulky CRT monitor on which a twitterwall is running, searching for tweets tagged with #tfeet (as in: Transforming Freedom + tweet). In the same room, there is a ladder at the top of which the cloud of unfathomable wisdom, which also serves as TF’s logo, is attached. At the bottom of the ladder, there is cardboard figure, a banker man who seeks to drink from the cloud.

Clouds for Bad Bankers

But he needs to be fed to climb the ladder, to ascend towards the cloud, and he lives on the mentioned #tfeet tagged tweets. Since our li’l bad banker is made of cardboard, he relies on us, the enablers, to move further up the ladder – and we will do so whenever a certain number of tfeets have been accumumlated. The Twitterwall is currently at six tfeets – as soon as 20 tfeets have been reached, the enablers will have to leave the place they’re at and race towards the QDK, move the man one rung further up the ladder… I guess it’s obvious who the weakest link is in this installation.

Notwithstanding this challenge: We’ve built in a further complication, to bring in some confusion, to egg us on a little, but also to make things a little less no-nonsense. You think you get it, but actually, you don’t – just like the economic crisis. So here it goes: After a critical-mass tweet has been posted, we’ve got three hours to make our banker move – if we stay within the time limit, we get a bonus, but for every minute we miss from these three hours, we lose € 1.000.000,-, so we win what remains of a max of € 180.000.000,- Our currency: a cauldron full of Powerpoint clip art gold.

Clouds for Bad Bankers 3

If you want to see us run – add #tfeet to your tweets often! No worries if it’s out if context – the banker will take anything he can to get a taste of the cloud!

Btw, anybody reading this who can show us a way to reliably count hashtagged tweets, allowing us to pinpoint e.g., tweet no. 20 – ideas?

The twinstallation will be activated May 12, and it will continue until March 23. If need be for a second banker, we’ll build one.

Clouds for Bad Bankers Final

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