[Data Art] Lost in Translation

As the final project for the class, Data Art, I and Ellen are teamed up and were discussing about the project through the mobile messenger. While we were having conversation in Korean, we found out we were using lots of ‘ㅋ’ as most Korean does.

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Naturally the discussion went to emoji, another kind of abstract, compact literation widely used in mobile. We are using it unconsciously everyday, but we might not perfectly understand the meaning of it, even though it is supposed to mean certain thing. We thought there’s complicated emotion behind these kinds of literation in mobile, leading ‘lost in translation’. We decided to analyze the ‘ㅋ’ as a prototype project, collecting and representing data of emotion behind it.

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‘ㅋ’ is originally literation of sound of laughter, something similar with ‘kekeke’ in English. But people use it far beyond just laughter, each person using it differently. There’s even joke about different meaning according to the number of it.

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We wanted to find undertone of this letter, so we did a self-analysis to see emotion behind this letter by breaking down into several emotion from joy to fear. The criteria we picked is a standard in computer based emotion analysis. But it’s done by us, human being. The process of this human analysis was interesting to both of us, as we felt there’s misinterpretation when we did the each of own project with the computerized sentimental analysis.

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We also did a mutual analysis. Each letter was analyzed by myself first, and then also by opponent again so that we could figure out difference between intention of sender and interpretation of receiver.

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We set rules, guidelines of visualization, how to represent the emotion. The amount of each emotion decides each typographical feature of it, which are size, width, weight, and shear. Base on the result of analysis, each letter had it’s own unique form. In doing so, we wanted to embed complicated emotion in the letter itself.

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Below is the summary of the result. Every letter has distinctive form, different from each other. We found several interesting take away from the result. 

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First, as we guess before we start, there’s indeed lost in translation. There is huge gap between the intention and the interpretation. Secondly, it actually reflects the personality of one who uses it. Almost every form of my letter is quite similar no matter what the context of the phrase is. We can assume each person use this letter with similar emotion regardless of the context. We assured this little theory once again when we saw the result in a cross way. For example, my analysis of my own word is similar with my interpretation on Ellen’s word, meaning that I used this letter and also recognized this letter in my own way with certain emotion. The similarity of form didn’t depends on the context but rather on the person. So our conclusion of this weird experiment is that this letter contains quite diverse emotion behind it, and it’s mainly affected by each one’s personality.

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We thought it makes sense if it is made into some kind of accessories as it strongly show the personality of one who use it. We prototyped it by doing a laser cut to make elements of design of any kind of thing to represent the personality. This small prototype experiment between two of us would be extended to large number of people, so more meaningful or interesting results might be unfolded in the next step. 

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