October 19-22, 2017
Brooklyn, NY

Anna Bialas


I am a recent graduate from the department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU, where I studied the relationship between technology and society. Over the past two years I have worked as a web developer and creative coder, most recently as part of the summer internship program hosted by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and Harvard Library Innovation Lab. I am interested in work that illuminates the less obvious ways in which individuals encounter data and digital technologies.

Exhibiting with Shira Feldman

The Internet Is __

//How do we talk about and give shape to a concept of "the internet" -- a word that describes both everything and nothing at the same time?

//How do we discuss the here and the now of the all-out internet condition?

This installation piece seeks to collect a kind of cultural vocabulary concerning what the internet is -- leveraging "the internet" to help define itself. Using the Twitter API and a Python script, the piece scrapes and collects tweets across the social media platform containing the text, "the internet is," storing the results in a MySQL database every 15 minutes. These results are then dynamically projected as a video; coded in Processing, it rapidly loops through thousands of tweets, ultimately rendering the phrase undefinable, volatile, and ineffable: both everything and nothing at the same time. The installation is imagined to be participatory and performative: soliciting viewers to submit a tweet with the potential for it to appear within the projection. As a digital installation piece, the video functions beyond a creative experience--as both a site and method of data collection. Moving forward, I hope to take the data gathered through the site-specific installation to use in various Natural Language Processing experiments, leveraging algorithms to understand the ways in which people relate to and conceptualize the internet.