Digital Musics & Sound Art

#tweetscapes – a HEAVYLISTENING experience

Price: Auszeichnung - Award of Distinction

Tarik Barri (NL), Anselm Venezian Nehls (DE)


Cyberarts 2012 - International Compendium Prix Ars Electronica 2012

#tweetscapes instantly converts all German Twitter messages into abstract sounds as they are being sent. It is a real-time sonification of what is happening in the German Twitter-sphere, as well as an interactive composition, performed collectively by Germany’s Twitter users. 

#tweetscapes aims to add a sensual element to the development of discussion topics and the rhythm of the online dialog. Not only does this allow unique soundscapes to arise, but #tweetscapes shows the social network from a radically different perspective. 

The Twitter messages are being sonified according to a fixed set of rules: tweets including a #hashtag (a thematic keyword), direct replies to another user, re-tweets (forwarded messages) and trending topics are each treated differently. For any possible topic of conversation, one individual, characteristic sound is created algorithmically, making it possible to conceive the development of the collective “multilogue” intuitively—and to sensually experience the overall mood of the Twitter-sphere at any given moment. Twitter becomes an ambience, the user becomes part of the data stream. 

#tweetscapes was originally developed on behalf of Deutschlandradio Kultur in 2011 and is being broadcast on its program regularly, allowing German Twitter users to interact with the artwork live on the radio. In 2012, it has been complemented by a visualization and takes the form of a 24/7 audiovisual live stream on, but also of an audiovisual surround installation called #tweetspace. Either way, the audience can use their mobile phones or computers to interact with the work through Twitter messages. 

Anselm Venezian Nehls / HEAVYLISTENING: Idea, concept, sound, programming
Tarik Barri: Visualisation
Florian Eitel: Additional programming
Dr. Thomas Hermann: Scientific project support
Sam Auinger: Artistic project support
Marcus Gammel: Dramaturgy
Timm Knoerr: Artwork