ReConstitution 2012 was an interactive website and live data visualization.

ReConstitution 2012

Decoding the emotions of the Presidential Debates in real time.

Part data visualization, part experimental typography, ReConstitution is a live web app linked to the US Presidential Debates. During and after the three debates, language used by the candidates generates a live graphical map of the events. Algorithms track the psychological states of Romney and Obama and compare them to past candidates. The app allows the user to get beyond the punditry and discover the hidden meaning in the words chosen by the candidates.

ReConstitution is a web app that is best viewed in Chrome or Safari. The app receives the text of the debate—word by word—from the backend server, and constructs an animated layout of the transcript in your browser window. The server uses several language processing libraries to analyze and tag the close captioned text, which is sent to it by an application connected to a live cable feed, running in the Sosolimited studio.

The site can be viewed at

Support for this project was provided by Vice and Intel. Bocoup generously helped with the software architecture. The language analysis is based on the work of James Pennebaker from UT Austin. His colleague Cindy Chung helped us crack the code on these wonks.

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Tim Branyen

James Pennebaker, UT Austin

Cindy Chung, UT Austin

Bold typographic animations were triggered by specific phrases in the debates.

“Designed to provide viewers with a complementary way to immerse themselves in the debate experience, using only the lens of language to guide them.’’


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ReConstitution 2008

A fresh spin on civic engagement with a remix of the Presidential Debates.