#ESSYS* Happening

#ESSYS* is an online-based happening that unveils the underlying emotions in Twitter data. Built over the sonification system ESSYS, musical pieces are continuously generated and played online as an expression of Twitter’s most prominent emotions. The authors of each tweet become the conductors of this happening, devised as an audiovisual showcase, where we hear Twitter’s emotions, and we see the leading words that reflect this emotional dimension. The autonomous system is the performer in constant dialogue with each participant, in a unique event dependent on how the system itself interprets the tweets and their emotions, how it generates musical pieces, and how each audience member feeds the system and composes the happening’s narrative. The system will endlessly compose as long as tweets with the hashtag #essys-xcoax are shared, in an ever-changing, audiovisual event to expose the driving emotions of #ESSYS*.



#ESSYS* promotes a reflection on the authorship of the artistic use of AI systems, as well as the relationship that this kind of system may create with the audience. First, what is the role of the audience in this happening? Although the system generates the experience autonomously, it needs data created by people to produce it. This creates a symbiotic relationship between the audience and the machine to generate collaborative artworks, i.e. the system lives out of human data, whose opinion is in turn transformed as the artwork is experienced. Second, who can we consider to be the creator? Is it the system, which technically produces the content? Is it the system’s designer, responsible for its building rules and elemental behaviour? Or is it the audience, the feeders of the artefact, whose shared tweets maintain the artefact alive and in continuous creation? Finally, the system reflects the potential of AI systems to mediate the generation of artworks that, even without a political statement, embodies the people’s data in order to produce personal and contemporary significance to its viewer.


Mariana Seiça

Nuno Lourenço

Pedro Martins