Combining elements of computer science, anthropology, visual art and storytelling, Jonathan Harris’ projects re-imagine how humans relate to technology and each other. His work ranges from building the world’s largest time capsule (with Yahoo) to documenting an Alaskan Eskimo whale hunt on the Arctic Ocean (with a warm hat). He is the co-creator of We Feel Fine, which continuously measures the emotional temperature of the human world through large-scale blog analysis. Jonathan’s work has won multiple awards and been recognized by AIGA, Ars Electronica, Print Magazine, the Museum of Modern Art and the world Economic Forum named him Young Business Leader. Jonathan has given talks at Google, R/GA, Princeton and Stanford Universities and the TED Conference.
We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale. Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world’s newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the “feeling” expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.
The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 – 20,000 new feelings per day. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20s? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine’s Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on.
The Whale Hunt is a storytelling experiment.
Jonathan Harris spent nine days with a family of Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost settlement in the United States. He documented their traditional whale hunt a linear sequence of 3,214 photographs, taken at five-minute intervals for seven days, and at even higher frequencies in moments of high adrenaline. “This established a constant “photographic heartbeat” that more or less matched the changing pace of my own heartbeat, and which recorded every moment of the hunt. I then developed a framework for experiencing this story, allowing the viewer to rearrange the photographic elements of the story to extract multiple sub-stories focused around different people, places, topics, and other variables.” Learn more about Jonathan Harris’ projects