Project Team: Avşar Gürpınar, Cansu Cürgen, Barış Gümüştaş, Eren Tekin, Yağız Söylev, Yelta Köm
Conjuncture ignites a desire in us to be flexible, multipartite and ever changing which correspondingly transforms the manifesto. Twitter satisfies this need by fueling and funneling a constant, never-ending flow of mini verbal declarations, which at times gather a strong enough momentum and act as temporary manifestos. Twitter is dynamic, complex, global, transactive, with ups and downs, crashes and shutdowns. It is a by-product of vibrations of the masses. What hath 140 characters wrought!* Unveiling this transformation, we propose a research by design project that visualizes this dynamic data network from a pool of design related tweets.
*“What hath God wrought!” - The first telegraph message transmitted by Samuel Morse
As TWTRATE we have built a stock exchange analogy. The actions that Twitter allows its users to take are: following, unfollowing, retweeting, responding, marking as favorite, using a hashtag and referring to another user. We have created an index type dynamic with exactly these possible actions. In this setting, Twitter accounts are companies, individual tweets are assets and speculations and hashtags can be thought as news stories that go hand- in-hand with speculations, which helped us to design a taxonomical structure. Through various media we have created a setup/game that will let the participants manipulate the stock exchange. For example, fake news reports promote certain hashtags, and these hashtags might increase the value of an account if its speculation fits this scheme and receives attention.
We selected several topics, and looked at the hashtags that each gather sub- categorically. We considered many words, and paid attention that they would be fertile in terms of mass usage and design-relatedness. Among the topics we selected are urban, occupy, opensource, manifesto, twitter, gentrification and money.
We are –and will be during the biennial- collecting tweets and composing manifestos using a complex algorithm. We composed a wide collection of design related hashtags and our script constantly monitors Twitter for any related tweets. After the initial collection, tweets are sorted under three main tenses in real-time: past, present and future. We defined various words and phrases (like history, future, used to be, will be, etc.) to utilize when categorizing.
What the visitors see in the end is what we call ‘dynamic manifestos’. Three screens are allocated to the manifestos about the three aforementioned tenses; past, present and future. Tweets relating to different contexts are made noticeable using color codes.
Dynamic manifestos are different from their conventional counterparts, for they are not texts about a subject, which are composed upon the agreement of a certain number of people; but a bricolage of 140 character fragments. They are called ‘dynamic’, because the manifestos are constantly changing according to trends, which we find complementary with our stock market analogy. They are multi-centered, ephemeral and adaptive.
As we are using a democratic, de-centralized social platform like Twitter and real-time information to compose our dynamic manifestos, we want visitors to engage in this project. In front of each screen there is a telephone handset connected to the computers. From here we provide information to the visitors about the trending topics and call for action (‘Send a tweet about [hashtag] now!’ or ‘[hashtag] is in decline!’). If and when the visitor sends a tweet about the concepts visible on the screens, they get immediate feedback and have the ability to manipulate the manifestos.
TWTRATE is a cautionary manifesto, questioning both access and accountability. It asks implicit and explicit questions about Twitter: Is critical mass a statement? How many characters will the 21st century manifesto be?