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Writing Robots, Anti-Eviction Mapping & Floating Forests

The Saito Group is finished with our Open Lab fellowship; it has been one intense year of software development and site-specific projections in San Francisco and New York City.

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The software we built is called Geotweets.

View this video on YouTube

Saito / BuzzFeed Open Lab

View this video on YouTube

Saito / BuzzFeed Open Lab

Currently, the library incorporates five tools.

# “sample” will scrape and save up to 100 geolocated tweets in batch form.

# “real time visualizer” uses “sample”to create a word frequency distribution chart which can grow and change in real time; it gives you a sense of the “linguistic field” of an area.

# “scan and respond” scans geo-located tweets and asks the user to verify they are of interest before sending a tweet response; very useful for geo-located advertising.

# “write” classifies geo-located tweets into phrase types (noun phrases, verb phrases, etc.).

# “suggest_bot” is an auto-suggest poetry engine. The user can create poems with bots that suggest either words or phrases based on a pre-defined corpus and/or a geo-located twitter scans of an area. The software is ideal for artists and/or activists that are interested in geo-located digital scanning, amplification and composition.

Saito tested this software to great effect in two use cases.


View this video on YouTube

Saito / BuzzFeed Open Lab

Saito created an installation with Biome Arts on Mary Mattingly's Swale.

View this video on YouTube

Saito / BuzzFeed Open Lab

Saito collaborated with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project on a series of projections in San Francisco.

The Group will continue our work with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) and Swale. AEMP is currently working with communities in Oakland to compile a community-empowerment map and organize tenant rights events. The Saito Group will make a version of the San Francisco projection, but based on maps and data on from Oakland.

Swale is currently docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park in NYC, and scheduled to move to several other sites schedule in the next two months. The Group is currently working on a projection-based archive of all the plants growing on Swale and their symbolic associations. The archive will also relay the political concepts that Swale embodies.

The oscillation between BuzzFeed and Eyebeam, SF and NY, AEMP and Swale has been incredibly transformative for the group. Our mission, focus, capabilities and network have been intensively refined. We look forward to the next chapter of deepening our work supporting organizations that advocate for data rights, the right to the city and economic solidarity, on the street and in the net.

Open Lab for Journalism, Technology, and the Arts is a workshop in BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau. We offer fellowships to artists and programmers and storytellers to spend a year making new work in a collaborative environment. Read more about the lab.