Plinko Poetry hands-on (video)

Don't lie, you love The Price is Right. There's no shame in it. Maybe you don't watch it religiously, but you get a thrill every time you see them break out the Plinko game. Now, what if you could combine that visceral thrill, with the absurdity of magnetic poetry, while juxtaposing the conflicting political perspectives of Fox News and the New York Times. That's exactly what Inessah Selditz and Deqing Sun did with Plinko Poetry, an installation on display at the ITP Spring Show. Operating it is as simple as dropping a red plastic disc, but the tech behind it is decidedly more sophisticated. It starts with a script that harvests headlines from the Twitter accounts of the New York Times and Fox News. Those streams of words then scroll across a screen dotted with yellow pegs. A simple webcam with a polarizing filter tracks not only those pins, but a red disc that you feed through the top of the display. As it tumbles, the words it passes over are selected to create mashups of the days top stories that are sometimes unintentionally hilarious or accidentally beautiful but, more often than not, predictably gibberish. Once the Processing script on the controlling computer constructs the new phrases, they're fired out into the digital ether via the @PlinkoPoetry Twitter account, which you can monitor on the iPad mounted next to the Plinko itself. To see the art in action, head on after the break.