Futureme is a web service that allows you to write a letter (email) to yourself that gets delivered at a later date. In June 2007, we (a team of UCLA students) fetched 7,000 emails to the future which contained terms such as remember, remind, forget and forgot. We used this data to perform a live visualization of the mood towards the future, extracted from the futureme emails. (I used a similar dataset to perform a more quantitative study of the public collective perception of the future.)
The installation was up for a day on Tuesday (June 12, 2007) outside the Design|Media Broad Art Center at UCLA. The visualization was performed using data from all the available 7,000 emails. Emails were sorted by time lag (the time between authoring and delivery of the email) and divided in 99 batches. For each batch, the general “mood” was computed based on the recurrence of selected keywords. Color was used to represent mood: four shades of air balloons, from light pink (sadder) to dark red (happier). The balloons were hanged from the 4th floor of the Broad Art Center creating a histogram-like pattern, one that would (supposedly) represent time lag across space.
The whole idea behind the project was to capture manifestations of remembering|forgetting contained in the emails, so for every batch of balloons (i.e. time lag) a representative textual email snippet was also presentedPhotos of the installation can be found at this flickr page. The entire project was meant to be ephemeral, so it was meant to be destroyed and… forgotten. Balloons went down by noon: