The cognitive acts of thought and wondering have become more public with the emergence of mainstream social media. Our ability to find answers to what we wonder about has advanced as Internet search tools continue to improve. The Wonder/Think Project explores how the shift toward an online social culture has shaped our ability to wonder and changed how we think about the unknown.
Our project consists of multiple simultaneous projections that invite the audience to consider what people worldwide are thinking about and wondering about right now. It is a site-specific installation that displays real-time Twitter messages that start with “I wonder” or “I think” and pairs those messages with related images found via Flickr.com. The resulting stream of information offers a spontaneous glimpse into the lives of others and the opportunity to wonder about the people behind those social media posts.
By isolating and relocating social media messages and photos outside their online context, the Wonder/Think Project challenges participants to consider their intent and style beyond the disposable culture they inhabit. We hope visitors will be initially drawn to the project by curiosity or voyeurism, then will be led to examine and discuss what they wonder about.
Christopher Houltberg is a Minneapolis-based artist who works in a wide range of media to explore how ordinary corporate structures like Amazon, Twitter, and Flickr guide and frame contemporary life. He received his MFA in visual art at the Art Institute of Boston and is assistant professor at Augsburg College.
Max is a software engineer and computer science researcher. He works on the CrashPlan team at Code 42 Software, building the best data backup software in the world. He has written more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles for computer science journals and conferences.