What could be more annoying than having to read through a bunch of mindless tweets? How about having them read aloud to you? This modified vintage radio does just that, reading an endless stream of live tweets selected using certain specific keywords.
"Volume And Noise" is the latest creation in artist Sean Hathaway's social-media-themed projects, taking one of the most modern forms communication, Twitter, and moving it into the form of one of the oldest.
Built inside the casework of a 1930s vintage Philco radio, Hathaway's creation uses an Arduino processor to select tweets, and then reads them using a text to speech program. Each Tweet is read in a different voice to help differentiate between them, and he even added in static and AM radio tuning noises to add to the realism. In the video, the effect really is like some World War II radio broadcast, except the information is from the present.
My favorite touch is the Tweets Per Minute knob, controlling how frequently it selects a new tweet to read. Turn it up too far and the tweets start to pile on top of each other, recreating the information overload we tend to endure in real life.
Hathaway built "Volume And Noise" for a show at the AFRU Gallery in Portland, Oregon and used political based keywords to go along with the recent election. He says the keywords are easy to change, so you can have an endless stream of babbling on any subject you choose.