on Tumblr

This is an ongoing project that explores the relationship between the physical body and the Tumblr news feed interface by investigating a combined motion between the two. Opposed to notions which view humans and digital interfaces as separate, I want to dissolve these perceived boundaries and look more objectively into how both humans and their digital cultural environments effect one another.

Tumblr is an art platform that fuels intuitive, impulsive image-sharing which in turn, influences a large part of our contemporary aesthetic phenomena. When browsing the Tumblr feed, the body is almost completely physically arrested; sucked into the constant downwards motion and the over-abundance of stimuli passing through the mind and physical body. We don't only fill up Tumblr with our intuitive animal-nature thinking, but it, respectively, becomes a part of us.

Likewise, tools like the motion tracking sensor in AfterEffects exhibit that computers also make an effort to read and embody human physical nature. What do these two beings look like when combined into one? What is the necessary physiology? How does it move? What are the sensory perceptions? By exploring different encounters between human-computer interaction and feedback, I'd like to answer some of these questions and lend another way to envision the digital-physical reality we're inseparable from.

Full project archive  Research journal

I began this project documenting myself and others browsing a Tumblr news feed, and found a consistent inverse relationship between human body movement versus movement occurring on the screen. 

Following, I went to aftereffects to motion track these videos in order to isolate the motion patterns I was seeing on screen versus through the human. Here, I found myself becoming more interested in how motion tracking applications would read a snippet of human body movements that is in turn propelled by interacting with a computer.

I designed an installation to reimagine the human/computer as a singular entity browsing itself. The piece was displayed in a 10' wooden unit where the individual would browse Tumblr on the back of the unit and the front would display the live browsing screen as their "body", underneath a styled motion tracking of their face and eyes (representing the "head"). I used a few different skins for the head that were all made in processing and Open CV, and tested out a few versions of the live screen body with Rafael Rozendaal's Abstract Browsing Chrome plugin, in order to help concentrate on the motion of the browsing screen.