MATRIX 177 will showcase the work of New York artist Mika Tajima. Tajima’s interests lie in cutting-edge technology’s ability to capture human emotion. Her MATRIX project will be a new video and sculpture installation derived from her Meridian “mood light” works, which utilize a custom algorithm to analyze, quantify, and translate language or human sentiment into “moods” represented by colored light. Using quantified sentiments scraped from the social media platform Twitter, Tajima’s video will present plumes of colored smoke filling the screen space, billowing, changing color, and dissipating according to the intensity and mood of Twitter users.
The artist says, “The twist on this idea is that I am working on an algorithm that is predictive—one that anticipates the mood or sentiment. Often once something is predicted, history writes itself. Did we really feel this? Were we led to this? Are we so predictable? Can algorithms truly understand us?”
The smoke video will change in real-time and will vary according to how the algorithm predicts the mood. The projection will light the room, giving off the color of the quantified sentiment in soft glowing ambient tones, in a sense transforming the space into a lighting appliance. The piece is both reflective and critical, and gives a sense of potential escape. The thought that though our contemporary life is surrounded by attempts to scrape, translate, and decode us, there is a possibility that much escapes the algorithms in abstraction, dissipating like mist and evading capture.