Golan Levin’s The Dumpster, launched Valentine’s Day 2006

Ahh… Golan Levin and his dots…

As mentioned by Susan in class, you are required to review this work of art, the Dumpster. It is now included in the material for which you are responsible in preparation for the final.


The DUMPSTER is an interactive information visualization of data mined from the internet about people’s breakups.  Its data-set or DATABASE consists of a fixed set of information they collected on 20,000 breakups in the year 2005. (Remember the Database = the group of collected data made explicit.)

The interactive INTERFACE is one in which you, the online visitor/viewer/user, can navigate the dots that represent the individual breakups and see when that particular breakup occurred along the “timeline” of all the recorded breakups. If you click or SELECT a dot, then a block of text appears along the right of the screen which is LINKED by a dotted line to that particular dot you selected.  This text shown is the mined data from the various blogs in the original break-up-“er” or dump-“ees” words announcing or describing the break-up. (The website warns that they have not edited the original language that they collected.)

Each subsequent dot you click activates the next box of text or break-up data. Notice how each “new” break-up text/data gets put on top of the stack or the list of texts.  This listing of data allows a narrative element to be shown.  This is YOUR particular NARRATIVE (linear and materially actualized or SYNTAGMATIC) trajectory depicting YOUR SELECTION through their DATABASE of break-up information that the work provides.  The fact various other different users can activate the information by creating ALTERNATIVE NARRATIVE trajectories or ALTERNATIVE SELECTIONS through the PARADIGMATIC data is Manovich’s principle of New Media VARIABILITY.  There are different narrative possibilities with a shared database.  However, the Narrative meanings are essentially the same: the experience of break-ups.

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