#PoweredByTweets - Art Exhibition at Somerset House
  • Add to Collection
  • About


    #PoweredByTweets, a digital art exhibition at Somerset House.
I joined Pixie Labs to assist in the creation of #PoweredByTweets, a digital art exhibition for Twitter as part of the 2015 London Design Festival at Somerset House. My role over the 3 month development period included graphic and digital design, technical drawings, fabrication and photography. The following photos are a record of the 6 installations, from experiments to final execution.
Word by Word
Concept by hiveworks.co.uk
Use Twitter to reveal a book, literally word by word. The centrepiece in the exhibition is a typewriter which types the next word in the manuscript whenever a tweet is detected that contains it.
Delivery by Pixie Labs
This was perhaps the most ambitious of the six installations, attracting much attention during the exhibition. During development Pixie Labs tested the concept using the book Alice in Wonderland, which stuck and was used for the final installation. We sourced a vintage Smith Corona Automatic typewriter and got to tinkering.
The chosen direction involved building a rig over the typewriter keyboard with carefully placed solenoids to allow the typewriter to type by itself. The final build involved 5 prototypes of the solenoid mount, custom circuit board design, almost 600 solder joins, 125 metres of cable, 3D printed feet and many visits to the local hardware store.
Accompanying the typewriter was a large display to show which words were currently being typed and other status information. Pixie Labs designed and developed the framework to connect the typewriter to Twitter. Over the week the typewriter, without fail, wrote Alice in Wonderland 3 times. That's around 80 000 words, from 80 000 tweets around the globe. 
Pigeon Air Patrol
Concept by @PierreDuq and @matt_daniels
How can we make people more aware of the impact they have on the quality of the air they breathe? A flock of Pigeons monitoring the quality of the air and reporting in real time on Twitter.
Delivery by Pixie Labs
This installation involved 4 booths to display air quality in 4 major cities around the world. Pixie Labs built a custom computer to display 4 HD monitors at once, designed the UI for the screens and tackled all development.
Put Red Back
Concept by chiel.com
There is a blood shortage across the UK. By law, gay men are not allowed to donate blood. Create an installation with different colour liquids, resembling the rainbow flag, but, the red is missing. With each tweet, we will add a symbolic drop of "blood", slowly putting red back in the rainbow.
Delivery by Pixie Labs
This installation involved filling 5 windows at Somerset House with coloured liquid and pumping red liquid into the sixth window via Tweets. Pixie Labs developed the code to activate the water pump via a hastag on Twitter as well as fire a Flapit every time the hashtag was used. We also did the colour liquid tests to find the ideal material and mixture to create the stunning effect of the final installation.
Social Mindscape
Concept by Adeola Akande & Eloise Partt 
Harness the power of Twitter to enable cancer patients receiving chemotherapy to communicate non-verbally and create a visual #mindscape they can collectively enjoy in real time. Chemotherapy can be a traumatic and exhausting experience, Social Mindscape will provide an uplifting distraction from the natural anxieties of waiting for and receiving treatment, which can span months if not years.
Delivery by Pixie Labs
A custom room was built with a reflective shell and a dark, soft padded interior to create a tranquil enviroment for exhibition goers. Two projecters were joined in order to project calming imagery onto the roof of the room. Visitors were able to request and change the imagery via Twitter. Pixie Labs built the code to make this possible.
Tweet Taps
Concept by www.wateraid.org/uk
Tweet Taps - water pumps that tweet WaterAid donors to demonstrate, in real-time, how their money provides clean, safe water to some of the world’s poorest people.Piloting in Mozambique - where the average person uses just 4 litres of water a day - all water pumps installed by WaterAid are named after the town where they ‘live’
(e.g. Muele Pump, Sabe Pump) and given their own Twitter account.
Delivery by Pixie Labs
This interactive installation required the visitor to pump the handle of a water pump in order to donate to Water Aid and display a projected Tweet. Pixie Labs sourced the vintage water pump, dismantled it and installed a magnetic sensor in the shaft of the pump in order to detect movement. When the handle was pumped 3 times, the Tweet was projected in front of the visitor. Pixie Labs designed the UI and water animation for the display.
Concept: @TheMarkCarroll
Writing itself is merely 6,000 years old and for a majority of that time it could be considered static because it was structured by the conventions of punctuation and use of space. Twitter has a powerful amount of data to monitor the real-time evolution of the tweeted vernacular, not only highlighting the use of new words and how sustainable those words are.
Delivery by Pixie Labs
WordWatching was initially thought to be the most straightforward of the installations but involved a lot experimentation and fine tuning. Pixie Labs developed the code to count each time a word was used on Twitter, went through multiple design phases for UI and finally came up with an incredibly engaging display, with a secret animation every time a word approached the next 10 000. OMG was the most used word throughout, with Bae catching up fast.