French author and polymath Boris Vian's 1947 novel L'Écume des jours (variously translated as "Foam of the Daze," "Froth on the Daydream," and "Mood Indigo") is one of the world’s most heartbreaking works of surreal fiction. In it, the main character, Colin, is a wealthy young man who has a man-servant and a cocktail-making machine called the “pianocktail.” This machine is an absurd instrument that, when played, creates different types of cocktails that produce a synesthetic listening experience. Now, there something with similar ambitions: Data Cocktail, a “machine” that turns Twitter data into a drink.
Created by Clément Gault and Koi Koi Design, Data Cocktail grew out of Soif de Parti, a workshop organised by Stereolux at the Laboratoire Arts et Technologie. The project’s theme centered on the “tangible representation of data through other senses than sight.” Originally, it would have translated, through taste, the political color of Twitter data, since France was then in the midst of elections. Gault has since jettisoned the political angle, expanding the idea to include all types of Twitter data.
“When a cocktail is desired, the machine will look for the five latest messages [from] around the world quoting one of the available ingredients—these messages will define the drink composition,” Gault explains on the Data Cocktail website. “Data Cocktail not only provides a unique kind of drink, but it also prints the cocktail’s recipe along with the corresponding tweets. A gift you can take away.”
“Data Cocktail is a machine but it doesn’t exclude a minimum of politeness,” he adds. “Once the cocktail mix is realised, Data Cocktail will thank the tweeters who have, without knowing it, helped at realising it.”
Click here to see more of Clément Gault’s work.