Twitter bot @_Lost_Buoy, created by Mark Sample, meshes together oceanic and atmospheric data from weather buoy Station 51000 with fragments from Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The buoy, originally stationed 245 nautical miles Northeast of Hawaii, was dismantled on March 10th, 2013, and remained active until found on November 4th, 2015. Statistics such as wind speed, wave height, and water temperature are combined with the poetic wanderings of the novel. The bot draws on the dynamic data of Station 51000 and the static text of Moby Dick. @_Lost_Buoy has since been deactivated, all tweets utilized in this review have been taken from a separate source.
A comedic juxtaposition is present in the tweets of the @_Lost_Buoy. Melville's whimsical perception of the sea contrasts with the buoy's dry, technical data collection. Questions arise on the relation between the two. While we live in a world surrounded by data, what meaning does that data have if we do not have the necessary components to understand it? Do statistics serve a purpose if we lack the ability to correctly analyze them?
Catherine Kiburis produced this entry as a part of the Spring 2023 ENGL 693: Special Topics in Digital Literature course, taught by Dr. Melinda White.