For my final project, I wanted to do something different.. Something bold. I thought of using predictive text as a platform to send some sort of message but I was indecisive about the content. I finally dug deep into my own personal stash and decided to use an email I sent to an ex several years ago. In my mind, I thought searching through my old archives for piteous email messages from the span of our pre-breakup would entertain me. I imagined laughing at these gut wrenching old letters as they relentlessly formed hopeless sentences that mustered up desperation, false hopes and confusion. Seriously, I thought I would find the context completely amusing; especially since I finally understood exactly what people meant when they said “Time heals all wounds“. I perused through my stuff and realized it wasn’t funny at all. Alright, maybe it was a tad entertaining but not funny overall. However, I did discover something magical out of this experience; reading through old messages was a testament to the importance of time and as a result, I uncovered a new way to share “some sort of message”– Heart break doesn’t come easy, it hurts like hell and it doesn’t only exists in breakups; it could stem from failed expectations, friendships, school, family, bad news… anything! It is essential to become aware of time and its purpose in healing. I know it’s hard to accept when you’re in the midst of it all but pain truly dissolves with time, believe it.
I wanted to totally transform one of my emails. I had many thoughts, but my main goal was to adopt a system whereby the original content would drastically change from a negative to positive tone. I decided to use a poetry generator from class because I really wanted to use my text to return positive affirmations without the need of reading the original source. I used the Counter object to return the number of occurrences in my text and used the most frequent words to set up two lists; one with the most common used words and positive affirmations for the second. I also used the random element to arbitrarily generate new words. My inspiration: A House of Dust, by Alison Knowles and James Tenney.
See random affirmations below!
I’d like to also point out the time, which is significant here. I wanted to display the time in both cases – past tense and real-time, mainly to prove healing is a work in progress and to remind myself that time is essential for change.
I tested the Markov model and joined my email message with the Genesis text from the Bible using the RWET Markov-N-grams session notes. God is definitely on to something…
The final project presentation idea:
A chair, a projector looping a time-lapse video (change metaphor), and me reading the source email. At first, I planned to create a word cloud using Rita.js to populate positive words on the projector but I decided against it. Oh, and the foreign object next to the chair.. that’s a rose with fallen petals. I scratched that idea too.
Check my affirmation generator code below!
Update: I burned the letter after the show! “Take your broken heart and make it art”