This is topic Fascinating but Morbid in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=2;t=047156

Posted by Euripides (Member # 9315) on :
Mass Mass Media Installation by Caleb Larsen

Essentially, this is an installation in which a computer uses PHP to scan google's news feeds, determines how many people are reported killed, sends that information to a Lego Mindstorms robotic toy preprogrammed for the purpose, which drops a yellow BB for each person who has died. There are also projections of a tag-cloud-like arrangement of headline categories, and another one in which headline words are used to search and download YouTube videos which are strung together.

This project scans the headlines for people reported "killed." For each person it finds, it drops a tiny yellow BB. Each BB represents a human life and the accumulation is a sort of physical manifestation of the mortality statistics that are presented to us daily via the news media. The word "killed" was specifically chosen. A person who is killed has had a deadly action performed upon them by an outside actor. It is a forceful, active word and conjures up images in the minds of readers more than a more "sensitive" word might. In the end, this piece examines one element of the way headlines are constructed to entice us, often drawing on the darker side of our sensibilities. More information about this project is available here.
If it Bleeds, it Leads (time lapse photography + video of the device)
The BB installation by itself.

There is an inherent dichotomy between the playfulness of the materials: the Legos, the bright yellow balls, the plexi-glass BB hopper, and the sobering reality of the subject matter. This tension is combined with the viewer's natural inclination to expect and desire activity from a kinetic sculpture. However, that desire represents a morbid reality in that every time the mechanism drops a ball, a real person has died. Thus a confusing ethical situation exists; the viewer finds himself secretly and selfishly waiting for someone to be killed only so that he can watch a little yellow ball bounce around on the floor. On the same note, there exists a certain reassurance when the piece displays little activity.

Posted by Katarain (Member # 6659) on :
I tried to look at the video, but I couldn't see anything--could only hear it. I tried it in three different browsers, too, just to see if I had funky settings in one of them.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
Video works fine for me. I did just update Quicktime earlier today.
Posted by Euripides (Member # 9315) on :
Also works for me; updating QT will probably do the trick.

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2