We’re constantly inundated with news. Just look at your Twitter feed. We hop from North Korea to “Top Chef” to productivity tips without a second thought. But it’s strange, if you really think about it, that we process the world’s news as indiscriminately as sticking our fingers into every dish on a buffet.
And That’s the Way It Is explores this idea of media inundation. By Ben Rubin (who brought on Mark Hansen and Jer Thorp), it’s a media installation at the University of Texas that scans closed-captioned chirons during the nightly news and projects all of those hot topics onto a building.
Thorp calls the effect a “snowfall,” as a few random words drift by like the first flakes of a winter storm–maybe ”Hungry Cattle” and “The Worst”–slowly culminate into a flurry of random association, connecting politicians to jobs to places to the military to religion. On one hand, it’s a total abstraction of the news, a sort of grand meta statement on the news itself. On the other, it’s really just a distilled version of what matters to us, right now. All the installation is doing is projecting chiron text. And chirons already summarize topics in as few words as possible, removing editorial flourish in the interest of character-efficient information. So while the project feels poetically stylized, it’s really just a brutally terse mirror of the world as society is analyzing it.
Apparently, people on the UT campus are actually gathering to watch the nightly news on this installation. If I were in the area, I’d certainly give it a go. Because as much as I hate to admit it, this project is only about a half step away from the randomly associative narrative of my Twitter feed today.