Stream of unconsciousness from Facebook activity

HistoLyrical: the making of an artwork

In 2016 1215.today commissioned artist/filmmakers Ben Peppiatt and Stephanie Bickford-Smith to make a new digital artwork in collaboration with young people from Lincoln.

For a year they documented their thinking, drawings and process all the way through from proposal through to finished artwork.

Artist provocation

16 May 2016
Artist provocation

Forget free speech. Our freedom of thought is under threat. Through its design, online media is affecting our ability to process our thoughts. Is it possible to make a contemplative intervention to regain control of our own headspace in the information age?

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Lincoln Innovation Lab

11 June 2016
Lincoln Innovation Lab

We were blown away by the enthusiasm and ideas of the young participants during the Innovation Lab. They responded really well to our bizarre mix of research, we feel it really pushed their connection with the provocation and subsequent ideas sessions.

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Exploration of ideas

2 August 2016
Exploration of ideas

After the Innovation Lab we chose to work with Hitpoint Games after we were drawn to their playful response with the Beard of Contemplation. We liked how the idea was informed by how many people naturally contemplate but was realised with an absurd theatricality.

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Fish!

5 September 2016
Fish!

Our fishy thinking had two main avenues: Create a fish interface for browsing the internet where the engagement with online material would be based upon the movement of fish in a tank.

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Focus group with young people

12 October 2016
Focus group with young people

A really useful session with the 1215.today collective of young people who had taken part in our Innovation Lab helped us focus in on Facebook as our main area of attention. The young people revealed how Facebook was their main go to platform to engage with current affairs and that they all shared a degree of social anxiety around the site.

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Facebook stream visualisation

28 November 2016
Facebook stream visualisation

During our investigations into visualising Facebook activity, we decided to transcribe all our Facebook activity from around the time of the referendum. Turning all that information into lines of text appealed to us in its simplification and homogenisation.

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YouGov poll

9 January 2017
YouGov poll

It was important for us to get a visual sense of the UK into our work. We ran a YouGov poll and asked, “What view helps you think?” giving different options. Most people said from the window of a moving vehicle.

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Final designs

28 April 2017
Final designs

As the project was approaching it’s final resolution there was still time for the idea to shift slightly! Instead of just having the Facebook text flow in its entirety, what if we chopped it up and made the experience interactive so the user could create their own pieces of concrete poetry from the Facebook text?

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Launch of HistoLyrical

7 June 2017
Launch of HistoLyrical

We decided to launch our work during the week of the UK general election – to capture another important moment in our society!

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