The Banality of Affect (banalityofaffect.net) is an audiovisual installation and real-time net-art project which problematizes the commodification of emotions via new media and the ecology of (sonic) affect.
Data streams from Twitter and the Dutch stock market influence the emotional output of the music with a “corrective” function. This is undertaken by assessing incoming tweets from top five trance music DJs (Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and Sander Van Doorn) and five top news agencies (Reuters, BBC News, Russia Today, CNN and Al Jazeera). The tweets are assigned numerical emotional values (from -5 to +5), which are used to influence the euphoric or disphoric output of the generated music in real-time. Good news allows for more melancholic music, bad news enforces more euphoria. Fluctuations of the Dutch stock market alter the speed of the music; a turn for the worse increases the tempo, an increase in its value lets the tempo slow pace.
This stream ran in real-time from Feb 2014-Feb 2015. This sample video was made on 31st Jan 2015 at 12.22pm.
Concept, sound design, sound programming in Supercollider: Annie Goh
Visuals and python programming: Sascha Hanse
Additional programming in Supercollider: Alberto de Campo
With many thanks to: Alberto de Campo, Sascha Hanse, Hannes Hölzl, Fredrik Olofsson, Constantin Engelmann, Paul Christophe, Gregor Kwaczynski, Finn Årup Nielsen (Affin sentiment analysis)