Now that you’ve been introduced to the disturbing children’s favorite of the 1980s that is the Teddy Ruxpin, you’d want to know what Sean Hathaway decided to do with them. His project, T,E.D. (Transformations, Emotional Deconstruction) aggregates “emotional content” from the Internet and, using synthetic speech software, makes the Teddy Ruxpins speak them. 80 Teddy Ruxpins hanging on a wall, talking and feeling and wanting to end it all.
T,E.D. is a large, wall-based installation consisting of an array of 80 Teddy Ruxpin dolls that speak emotional content gathered from the web via synthetic speech with animated mouths. The speaking of the emotional content is accompanied by one of twenty-four musical vignettes written by Carlos Severe Marcelin that have been paired to the emotional content being spoken. Each vignette, representing one of twenty-four subtle variants of human emotion, have been composed in such a way that the beginnings and ends of the short pieces will seamlessly dogleg in any possible configuration and stream endlessly as a unified whole. The installation is allowed to drift about freely through the emotional landscape being driven only by those who are contributing content to the piece whether unwittingly or consciously. As such, the overall presentation of the piece can vary greatly based on external conditions such as seasons, world events and even time of day. The instantaneous emotional pulse of the internet,this collective pulse, like a human pulse, varies over time.
I suppose the most pressing question is: Where did he get all that “emotional content” from? Well, it wasn’t 4chan, or the bears would have burst into flames already. The content for T,E.D. primarily comes from the We Feel Fine project — it shares its web crawler that searches English-speaking blogs for emotional content. It also gets content directly from people who have heard of it — people can send text messages and voice messages to a dedicated phone number [(559)TXT .2.T,E.D.] or input their thoughts on a terminal that sends it straight to the bears.
So if you ever wondered what a bunch of pseudo-omniscient teddy bears are like, here’s your answer.
I just kinda wish they’d hook it up to Twitter or 4chan.
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