The Boring Gallery
The Boring Gallery is an interactive installation & online gallery. The installation was held for four days in May of 2011. There are three major components to The Boring Gallery: a database of tweets about boredom, an interactive touch screen application and an online gallery of user-generated artworks.
During four days of the installation, The Boring Gallery was monitoring Twitter in 6 cities: Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and London. It was looking for people complaining about things and activities they found boring. Over four days, the application accumulated hundreds of complaints like “life is boring”, “people are boring”, “church is boring” from people in these cities. These complaints are the inspiration and the driving force behind each and every artwork displayed in the gallery.
We developed an app that let folks “paint” portraits of the ennui of the Twitterati. Over the course of four days in May, the app scanned Twitter for stuff people were bitching about and connected these subjects to photos on Flickr, by using the same tag and geo location. Then, the public used a touch screen table, rigged with a drawing engine, to give bored tweets abstract, visual form. The artwork became a collaboration between the real users who physically interacted with the application and Twitter & Flickr participants. Physical interactions defined the composition of the artwork and some aspects of its look, while Twitter & Flickr users directly affected the rules that guided the engine’s colors, shapes, sizes and behaviors.
A lot of the paintings in The Boring Gallery end up conveying much more than just boredom. Tweets about boredom on Twitter in Toronto resemble a web spun by the world’s most polite spider. Tweets about boredom with life in New York appear as the picture of chaos, with lots of black (natch). And tweets about boredom at church in Los Angeles look like a bright, tense ball that’s ready to explode.
The project generated more than 120 paintings and provided hours of amusement for guests of all ages.