Friday, October 8, 2010
Don't be surprised if you wake up on Sunday morning to find your Facebook wall covered with LOVE. Ela Boyd, an artist and UCSD MFA student, has chosen Sunday to explore the idea of a collective consciousness in the internet age.
Her project is called #Keywords for Change, and she's asking everyone to tweet, blog, or update Facebook with the word (and hashtag) "#LOVE" on Sunday, October 10th.
Boyd is wondering how interconnected we all are, and what would happen if we collectively focused our thoughts. What if we were all thinking and expressing the same idea at the same time? Is there any power in that?
"Ideally, I'm hoping to get a spike of love tweets," Boyd explains by phone. "You know how people are so down on Twitter, that it's not intellectual enough and only 140 characters. Well, maybe we can utilize this tool to create something greater." Take that Malcolm Gladwell.
Boyd was inspired by the work of Princeton professor Roger Nelson, director of the Global Consciousness Project, which "examine(s) subtle correlations that may reflect the presence and activity of consciousness in the world."
Nelson's research has shown that the collective attention of large numbers of people during global events - like 9/11 for example - can spark "a global emotional response that actually effects the output of a network of hardware random number generators located in 65 locations around the world."
In other words, these random number generators depart from their randomness when major global events happen and there's a global consciousness shift. It's a way to objectively or scientifically track the presence of global consciousness.
By capitalizing on the world-wide digital meeting places that are social media (Twitter, Facebook), Boyd is hoping to mimic something like global consciousness. "I'm wondering if it does have some sort of power - if we have latent cognitive abilities that we haven't realized yet, maybe we could catalize for real change."
Why schedule the #LOVE fest for Sunday? Boyd picked it because she thought the 1s and 0s of binary code referenced in the 10-10-10 date made it a perfect day for an online movement. Little did she know she'd already tapped into some kind of collective consciousness. 10-10-10 is already the world day of interconnectedness.
To learn more about Boyd's project, got to her website #KEYWORDS for Change.