Relational Clocks: I, You, We (2018)

Custom natural language processing software and data visualization, flat screen monitors, duration approx. 4 years


For the past four years, I have received unwanted emails from an internet stalker, sometimes over 40 emails a day.  This work uses custom software to read the emotional changes in this constant stream of emails to create a live data visualization topography using facial expressions, beginning with the first email received on December 5, 2014.  The visualization on each monitor corresponds to the usage of a pronoun in this email archive.  The monitor on the left tracks “I,” the monitor on the right tracks “you,” and the monitor in the center tracks “we.”


The software “reads” these emails at 100 words per minute, producing facial expressions that visualize the emotional context in which each pronoun is used.  The data visualization uses the color scheme of a topographical map: the protruding red forms represent growing angry or negative emotion, the blue receding forms represent calm or positive emotion.   These clocks—which register change in emotion as well as time—will run as long as emails continue to be received.