Is it the end of the world? Headless chicken weathervanes to track language of fear online
Art installation will respond in real time to use of fear-mongering language on the internet
War! Economic collapse! The end of the world! With today’s news dominated by international crises, vanishing jumbo jets and horrific high-profile murder trials, internet users are never far from stories bound to trigger a certain degree of panic.
Now two US artists have come up with a novel method of tracking and measuring the “production of fear on the internet” – by inventing electronic headless chicken weathervanes.
The project, known as Whithervane, will see Detroit-based John Marshall and Cezanne Charles install five of the devices on prominent buildings in the British south coast town of Folkestone.
A custom-built programme will monitor use of a predetermined set of key words in online headlines that are associated with fear and imminent international chaos – “war”, “economic collapse”, “natural disaster” and so on – and the headless chickens will respond by being “blown around” according to what is happening.
The creators, working with their studio “rootoftwo”, say the Whithervane project will effectively act as a “neurotic early worrying system”, allowing observers to view “emergent group behaviour among the ‘flock’”.
The chickens have also been designed to light up based on the level of apparent threat, from green for a “low” level of fear online to red when things become “severe”.
As well as watching the vanes get increasingly animated in the face of online doom and trepidation, passers-by will be able to “influence” their nearest installation via a smartphone app, either causing them to escalate or calm down.
“While this work is intentionally humourous, we hope the public become conscious of how much our contemporary media, policy and political frameworks utilise fear as a persuasive method,” rootoftwo said on their website.
According to The Art Newspaper, the installation is heading for Britain from 30 August to 2 November. So no need to panic just yet.
- 1 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Blogger captures footage ‘showing BUK missile launcher that shot down jet’ now back in Russia
In pictures: Israel-Gaza conflict
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...
Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire