As the pandemic has largely digitised culture, this week THE FACE pondered whether or not it could democratise the arts. Today, digital-artist-slash-hacker Thomas Webb continues this conversation, with the release of a new video game based on his 2018 viral art piece of the same name, Depressed Twitter, in honour of Mental Health Awareness Week.
So far, Webb has designed all of Dua Lipa’s AR filters, built games for Italian brand GCDS’ latest capsule, and transformed Shygirl and Munroe Bergdorf into crypto-girlfriends. Virgil Abloh even posted himself having a go at one of his games last week.
In order to create Depressed Twitter, Webb hacked into the site’s API and extracted all the tweets he could find about mental health. He then ran them through IBM’s sentiment analysis tool to determine their emotional tone, before programming each tweet into the game.
When you enter, the screen displays real-time tweets about mental health from people around the world. Webb hopes this will create a space on the internet free from self-serving algorithms, where struggling individuals can feel less alone.
“Our lives are controlled by algorithms that promote smiley faces and bikini bodies on Instagram,” Webb says. “Unless you post a face that’s smiling, you’re not going to get any likes. I wanted to create a space where when you enter, you could anonymously connect with other people’s pain rather than judge them.”
Have a go at Depressed Twitter here!