Emotional Code

I’m always lamenting at how our digital world lacks ‘feel’ to it. Thank goodness for emoticons or many a message could be misconstrued, simply based on character constraints. Conveniently enough, software has been created that ‘feels the words, visually’. Synesketch is a textual emotion recognition and visualization software that is based on the concept of synesthesia, a code was created that ‘feels’ based on the virtual words programmed into it.

Synesketch is Canadian and it’s concept bases itself on a very modern approach to art. Accepting that information technologies have become a huge part of the infrastructure of our culture, Synesketch invites artists to be ‘engineers’ but using the motto that ‘computers are made for people, not vice-versa’. It serves as serves both as a practical sofware API and a media art installation. Primed computer systems can already detect between words and emotion and Synesketch bridges that gap with code. We are affected visually by what we see, as well as what we’re either reading or hearing, in the form of words. Here are some examples of how it works. Take a moment and watch the video and see how your emotions are affected by what you see visually and how it ‘makes sense’ with the message being conveyed.


Winner of the International Digital Media and Arts Association Award at iDMA in 2010, Synesketch is one program I’d love to try my hand at. If I could just write things out and program them into something, perhaps I could quit the ‘YouTube Communication Classes’ and just send out stock videos based on my ‘Emotion of the Day’. I’m joking. That’s a little much, but it definitely might clear up some miscommunication if she says, ‘I’m fine.’ and it’s a questionable response. Now, imagine if that ‘I’m fine.’ passed over the screen, written on smiling jelly beans? Far more convincing that she’s ‘fine’. What if it was an image of a frog, croaking, ‘I’m fine.’… a little less convincing.

Did I mention Synesketch is free and open source? It is.

Who knows where we’re headed? Our computers are starting to ‘feel’ us, we’re programming them in our image. Probably all that quality time we spend with them.

I love you Greta Grooves (yes, I named my computer), thanks for being a friend. 🙂 (dancing jelly beans in the background)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s