#oneSecond is a project by Philipp Andrian showing a connection between 5522 people on Twitter across the world within the same second. In this interview, he explains why he decided to start the project, where the data came form and which tools he used.
How did you come up with the project?
The project was part of a publications class at the basel school of design (www.fhnw.ch/hgk) where I studied visual communication. The assignment was very open – the only premise was to create a (printed) publication in any form, while topic and content of the publication were up to each student. For me, the fascination of books is their permanency. Once printed their content is preserved and available in the future for everyone to read. Also, after printing, the book is finished, there can’t be any changes or additions anymore. This suggests putting a lot of effort and thought into what to print in a book because whatever is printed will be preserved for the future and by that is gaining value since it has been deemed valuable enough to be put into a book. Social media on the other hand is quite the opposite, nothing that is posted, is meant to last forever. By allowing everybody from all over the world to post content without restrictions, it becomes a melting pot of different cultures that changes constantly and is so immense that nobody is able to grasp or process the whole thing. New content gets drowned by new content and everything older than a few hours (at max) gets melted together in a vast data cluster that is not really accessible in the future and a single piece of content is forgotten in the instant it leaves the screen.
The idea of my project was to combine the two opposite worlds and to use the phenomena that I observed and felt about books. I wanted to preserve a single random moment of social media and by documenting this moment into a book making it special and making it worth being put into a book. Through stopping the time and preventing the content from this second from being drowned by new data the project allows us to inspect and explore this special moment and the people that where part of it.
Please describe your workflow: how did you proceed?
I first had to find a way to get all the data of one second on Twitter and I needed to know what information I would have for each tweet in order to create a proper presentation for this data. After collecting every piece of information I was able to find for each tweet, I restructured this data into four books and designed the layout for each. I knew now what would go into each book so the next step was to create all the assets I needed for the design like QR-Codes of all the links that were part of the tweets, as well as infographics and maps with markers for each tweet. With all the assets prepared, I used InDesign scripting to fill in the data and assets into my layout. It was possible to create the whole book inclusive the index with page references to every tweet through InDesign scripting. After generating the books, some pages needed manual fine tuning before exporting them into pdf and sending them to be printed.
Which data did you work with and how did you get access to it?