The Living Newspapers
Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery
Hide and Seek Exhibition
Museum of Contemporary Art
June 1 - 27, 2010


The Living Newspapers is a live installation consisting of pairs of 'museum visitors' seemingly engaged in pedestrian conversation. These conversations are actually comprised of real-time data harvested from the social networking environment, Twitter. The performers in The Living Newspapers act as subtle embodiments of the collective voice of social discourse.

The Living Newspaper was a genre of socially engaged theater funded by the federal government in the 1930's. The plays were constructed from factual information on culturally pertinent topics (such as the syphilis epidemic or the economic plight of farmers) and were were often designed to educate or mobilize their audiences. This contemporary re-imagining of the form is driven by a computer program that constructs dynamic dialogue from cultural chatter. The texts, gleaned by thematic searches or geographical proximity, are received by the performers through discretely worn earphones connected to a networked mobile device.

This project is a collaboration of Judd Morrissey & Mark Jeffery with wings by Claire Ashley.

The Living Newspapers is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.