One of 8 rolls of print-outs collected from Christopher Baker's piece 'Murmur Study' at the end of its exhibition in the Science Museum exhibition 'Top Secret' - one from each of the printers that made up the piece. This roll ends with a message from '@alfensan' on 23 February 2020 at 10:06:17 GMT.
Murmur Study is an artwork installation by the artist Christopher Baker that examines the rise of micro-messaging technologies such as Twitter and Facebook. The piece is made up of a series of printers which monitor Twitter for new messages containing variations on common emotional utterances such as argh, meh, grrrr, oooo, ewww, and hmph. Tweets are printed as an endless waterfall of paper accumulating in tangled piles below.
Murmur Study appeared at the Science Museum in 2019-20 as part of the exhibition Top Secret: from ciphers to cyber security, introducing the final section on ‘Communicating in a new age of technology’. Normally, the printed thermal receipt paper is reused in future projects or recycled, but, when the exhibition closed, the opportunity was taken to collect the final sheet from each printer, recording tweets printed on 23 and 24 March 2020.
These printed rolls act as a unique record of an artwork that was experienced at the Science Museum in 2019-20. One might describe these tweets as a kind of digital small talk, but Baker raises important questions about how our data and emotions are accumulated, archived and digitally indexed by large multi-national corporations. They also offer a unique archive of the use of social media like Twitter, capturing global usage over a two-day period, responding to common emotional expressions across myriad languages and countries.