A Brooklyn Web artist cuts straight to the heart of the blogosphere.
Thu Jun 15 2006
Yes, every schmo with a MacBook is blogging these days, but Fort Greene--based Web designer Jonathan Harris, 26, is making art out of the form—literally. The Princeton-trained programmer, who specializes in fashioning visually arresting online “artifacts,” is using the ubiquity of blogs—and the muscle of search engines—to fuel his recent project, We Feel Fine.
Every ten minutes, Harris’s logarithm combs the blogosphere for the phrases I feel or I am feeling and forms a searchable database of these words and their contexts. Since launching in September, the program has found more than 3.6 million instances of I feel, usually followed by bad, good or—no surprise—guilty. There’s also I feel sad that I’ve not taken a nap at our library in the whole of my undergraduate career. Because Harris’s “scraper” also gleans bloggers’ profiles, visitors can search by gender, age, location—even weather. “The database shows, for example, the huge number of people in their twenties writing blogs,” Harris says.
Harris is no stranger to the arcana of Internet searches. In 2004 he designed WordCount.org, a constantly updated compilation of the most popular words in the English language. He’s designed search-based pieces commissioned by Yahoo, among others, and he has a full-time day job with the online news service Daylife.
His next venture, Love Lines, resembles We Feel Fine, but harvests people’s confessions of love, hate and desire. His collaborator for both projects is Sepandar Kamvar, the brains behind Google Personalized Search. If it sounds like Harris hangs out with some high-powered geeks, well, he does. “There’s no time to see friends,” he complains of his daunting workload, “though I did have a brown-bag lunch the other day with Craig Newmark. You know, of Craigslist.”—Annie Correal
For more info, go to wefeelfine.org.