The Collective Emotions of Emily Dickinson

Dana Abrassart, Leslie E Ruckman

If an artificial emotional intelligence ever exists, will it be able to understand the most nuanced forms of human expression, such as the poem? <br />


Can an artificial emotional intelligence ever exist? How well will computers be able to appreciate and interpret human emotion?

“Discover, understand and revise language tones in text.” This is the selling point forIBM’s Tone Analyzer Beta built off of Watson.

Inspired by the recent release of the Watson Tone Analyzer, Leslie Ruckman and I decided to see what would happen if we tried to analyze the deeper human emotions conveyed through poetry with these newly minted tools. We decided to go with a familiar poet whose work was prolific enough to be counted as a data set, and popular enough to be fully digitized. We landed on Emily Dickinson.

We decided to start with her top 5 most popular poems assuming that they contained some magic that resonates with a largest number of people.

We then ran the text of these poems through Tone Analysis to discover emotional metrics such as: emotional summary, language style summary, and social summary.


Data Art


Dana Abrassart, Jamie Charry

The trash can that talks back, reexamining our relationship with waste.


trash/talk is a trash can that talks back. In doing so, it attempts to bring awareness to the usually mindless act of throwing waste away.

Fairly mundane looking from the outside, trash/talk then catches the unwitting off guard by displaying images of the ultimate demise of trash in NYC.

Finally, trash/talk offers an alternative to wasteful products.

***NB. We may try to amend the project before the show to change the output, but the idea and technical are working beautifully.


Food Systems: Interventions + Remediations, Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene