Christopher Baker

Murmur Study (2009)

A Live Twitter Visualization and Archive

Murmur Study is an installation that examines the rise of micro-messaging technologies such as Twitter and Facebook’s status update. One might describe these messages as a kind of digital small talk. But unlike water-cooler conversations, these fleeting thoughts are accumulated, archived and digitally-indexed by corporations. While the future of these archives remains to be seen, the sheer volume of publicly accessible personal–often emotional–expression should give us pause. This installation consists of 30 thermal printers that continuously monitor Twitter for new messages containing variations on common emotional utterances. Messages containing hundreds of variations on words such as argh, meh, grrrr, oooo, ewww, and hmph, are printed as an endless waterfall of text accumulating in tangled piles below. The printed thermal receipt paper is then reused in future projects and exhibitions or recycled.



Custom Hardware, Custom Software, Thermal Printers, Thermal Receipt Paper


Variable. Typical 20 ft x 20 ft x 1 ft


  • Juhász Márton András (Electronics, Fabrication)


Murmur Study is a commission of Northern Lights’ Art(ists) On the Verge program with the generous support of the Jerome Foundation. Additional support provided by the McKnight Foundation, the Weisman Art Museum and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Significant support for creative time and travel provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant Program.

The first version of Murmur Study was created while in residency at the Kitchen Budapest.

Datafizz Climate Hack Workshop