I LOVE lovelines

While reading about the upcoming speakers for the AIGA Small Talks, I came across this project by Jonathan Harris who will be speaking in February.

Lovelines is a website that pulls phrases from blogs and web journals that express love, hate, and that feeling somewhere in-between (it tracks images too). The phrases are constantly collected in real time, so the site becomes a love meter of the “blogosphere.” I love what people write! Ohh maybe that phrase will get picked up. I actually enjoy reading what people hate even more — it’s an amazing combination of trivial day-to day annoyances and some heavy things. The site is also quite appropriate with Valentine’s Day coming up. A better explanation about the project is on the site and I have posted it below:

Lovelines is an exploration of human desire.

Through large scale blog analysis, Lovelines illuminates the topography of the emotional landscape between love and hate, as experienced by countless normal humans keeping personal online journals.

Using a data collection engine created by the artists for their recent collaboration, We Feel Fine ( www.wefeelfine.org ), Lovelines examines thousands of blogs every few minutes to find expressions of love and hate, posted by all manner of people. When it can, Lovelines identifies and saves the age, gender, and geographical location of the person who wrote the post, and then presents that information along with the post. The entries range from frivolous to profound, offering a glimpse into the hearts and minds of people blogging about their wants and needs.

Lovelines presents a stark white screen, bounded on the bottom by a slider running from “Love” to “Hate”, with a draggable heart that becomes scratched out to the point of illegibility as the heart approaches “Hate”. As the slider is pulled through Love, Like, Want, Indifference, Dislike, and Hate, words and pictures appear above to represent the chosen state of desire or despair.

Lovelines is structured around three movements: “Words”, “Pictures”, and “Superlatives”. Words and Pictures iteratively present individual examples of human desire, while Superlatives provides a daily zeitgeist of the most loved, wanted, liked, and hated things. Interactive timelines represent the changing magnitude of love and hate over time, and allow navigation into the past.

The artists were invited to make this piece by Oral Fixation Mints ( www.oralfix.com ), a breath mint company devoted to “making everyday objects beautiful”, of which Jonathan Harris is a co-founder. We realize that the heart of all fixations is the desire to own, possess, and consume. Great desires imitate the physics of giant pendulums: the higher they rise, the deeper they fall. In this sense, love is inextricably tied to hate, desire to despair. Lovelines walks the line between these two extremes, painting pictures of the shifting landscape of desire.

Constructed entirely from found artifacts – words and pictures posted to blogs – Lovelines draws its identity from a world of strangers, brought together by shared degrees of desire.

– Jonathan Harris & Sep Kamvar, May 2006