Tonight a Website Blew My Mind

July 27th, 2006 by katherine

Ever get the sensation your head’s exploding? I got that, but in a good way, earlier today when I first stumbled across We Feel Fine. We Feel Fine is a mind-bogglingly slick feat of coding crafted by web artists Jonathan Harris and Sepandar Kaumar. The pair describe We Feel Fine as “an exploration of human emotion on a global scale” and “an artwork authored by everyone.” I would add that it is a damn clever idea, and brilliantly executed.
We Feel Fine combs the blogosphere every ten minutes, searching for statements that include the words “I feel” and “I am feeling.” It scoops LiveJournal, MySpace, Flickr, Blogger, Technorati, and more, grabbing the entire sentence in which the “I feel” appears, as well as, in many cases, the feeler’s age, location, and even the weather conditions in the time and place where the feeling was expressed.

we feel fine screenshot

Then, the We Feel Fine applet arranges this data in six beautiful, compelling, and interactive formats. The world’s feelings become colored balls bouncing around your screen, waiting to be clicked on and revealed by you, or quivering mounds whose size represents a feeling’s relative prevalence.
I don’t know whether to consider the project and its results deeply funny or deeply moving; perhaps it’s possible to be both at the same time. It seems intrinsically hilarious, though more in a thoughtful than a ha-ha way, that I can handily search for instances of people in Ghent, Belgium, who are feeling “able” (for your information, there are three). At its heart, We Feel Fine is Web 2.0, with its characteristic speedy statistical sorting and precision, applied to the world of human emotions – which, as we all know, are about the least precise, least sort-able things in the whole world. Until now. Kind of.
In either case, you owe it to yourself to take fifteen minutes right now to check this thing out.

(Hat tip to GrrlScientist)

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