Today, too, I experienced something I hope to understand in a few days \ James Coupe (2010)

Today, too, I experienced something I hope to understand in a few days was a site-specific artwork that auto-generated films based upon narrative data collected from Facebook profiles. Using a combination of status updates, YouTube uploads and video portraits, the work looked at people in Barrow-in-Furness from a range of different perspectives, each one a form of surveillance.

The project used status updates and demographic profiles, from Facebook users who live in Barrow, to automatically generate video narratives. Data from Facebook was combined with related footage from YouTube and selections from a database of video portraits to create one new video each day. The result was a dynamic snapshot of how we fit into the network of stories that we participate in every day. The videos evolved to keep pace with how we change, both individually and collectively.

The status updates that the project selects are typically from a number of different users, as the software will seek out the best combination of available posts until it finds something that can be considered a story. This ‘script’ will then be used to construct a short film: a split screen in which one half consists of clips from a video portrait database filmed in advance, with people from Barrow who match the demographic profile of each status post; and the other half is footage automatically found on YouTube, with tags that match the text in the status post.

This is the first artwork to be made inside Facebook. By joining this application, data from Facebook profiles — age, gender and status updates — were analyzed for narrative content, and potentially used to generate a short film. No names were used, and identities were and will remain private.

Supported by Signal Films and the North West Evening Mail. Initiated thanks to a folly Lanternhouse International (FLI) residency / AND Commission