Made of luminescent responsive fibers and state-of-the-art electronic equipment, Datagrove is an installation that collects local Twitter feeds and then transmits them from tangled digital branches as whispered broadcasts. Conceived of by San Francisco–based Future Cities Lab, the design combines elements of social interaction with the object’s ability to sense the immediate vicinity of people.
The installation was commissioned for the ZERO1 “Seeking Silicon Valley’ Biennial in San Jose, California, and will be on view until December 8, 2012. Located in the courtyard of San Jose’s California Theater, the structure creates an interactive meditative space shaped by light and sound. With its sensors, text-to-speech modules, LEDs and LCDs, Datagrove is a data harnessing device that integrates advanced digital fabrication techniques with contemporary art. The installation acts as a social media “whispering wall” that feeds on data normally nested and hidden in smart phones. The information is made public by parroting trending Twitter feeds out of speakers and LCD displays for all to see and hear, thus stimulating public discourse.
Besides acting as a vessel for social interaction, Datagrove is also physically conceived as a responsive system – when its sensors pick up on human presence, the installation produces a soft undulating sound as a reaction. The LED fibers light up and gently sway with the breeze, creating a sonic flow that transforms the installation into an intelligent organism.