We think crying is important. When you let out the tears, it brings catharsis regardless of whether it was elicited out of sadness, happiness, sympathy or frustration.

The act of crying stands as a unique state that is situated at the threshold of emotion physically externalizing through tears. We would like to embrace this somewhat overlooked obvious emotion, and create a peculiar setting for crying and sharing that moment.

Project Goodcry explores crying and its relationship to media in digital space, domestic space and public space through three pilot projects. A series of prototype for social media, interactive television, and a public booth, pose a question to the need for stimulation, communication and expression in a mediated social environment.

Research into subjective and emotional experience of digital content has gained interest in both academia and private sector with the advent of the digital space. For example, google researchers ranked comedic levels of Youtube videos and categorized funny videos into more specific genres using methods such as Acoustic Analysis , and Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis.

Crying has been less of importance, since the trigger for crying is embedded in narrative forms across different genres with various intensity. However, crying has a particular characteristic that can entail a more exploratory approach. The act of crying can stand alone as a unique state in that crying is situated at the threshold of emotion in which unique corporeal movements are shown. Therefore it can function as a central criteria. This work draws attention to video content and digital space, especially Youtube as it provides users with condensed experiences, and in particular to the question of “What would the implications for digital space be if crying is embraced?”

'I cried button' is the first part of the 'Project Goodcry' series, which explores the relationship between crying and media, and creates a peculiar setting for crying and sharing that moment. The experiment consists of a plug-in button in Youtube that users can press when they cry while or after watching a footage from Youtube. The button acts similar to ‘like’ button as the clicks are counted and saved. It also shows how many people cried at the video. We searched for words associated with crying in 1000 latest comments, counted the words, and saved them in a database. These numbers are combined with the number of clicks gathered by the ‘I cried’ button widget. Another part, the website, gathers data from the above, displays what we think people cried at most, and real time information about the usage of the button.

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The intention is to find out what type of content makes people cry, to suggest a simple way to communicate the state of crying in digital space, and to help people reflect and ask themselves “What makes me cry?” “What does it feel to know what other people cried about?.” It is not about content analysis, but more about a digital space encouraging manifestation of a certain behavior. In the future, we hope to study crying in other cultures and incorporate other methods to this study.

* Click the button when you cry and discover a hidden feature
* Search for videos and check out how many people cried over the same video as you
* Guess at which video people cried most and find out if you were correct at Project Goodcry website. This website displays videos where people cried at most, ratings of them, and real time information about the usage of the button.

When consuming media content, viewers show different emotional states and opinions. Socal televion systems such as Xerox PARC’s SocialTV and Connec TV have been created to share and support these reactions, providing viewers with tools to exchange their thoughts about the content they are viewing using text, audio and avatars.

However, the interaction that has been offered is somewhat limited to users relying on a set of common expressions which can also hinder users’ viewing experience. Therefore alternative communication through visible emotional traits is an interesting trajectory to explore. The act of crying, for one, involves the embodiment of emotion that is physically externalized through tears, and is a distinctive behavior that can create connections even among strangers with its many indirect implications. What would be the psychological outcome when self-created representation of feelings such as tears or facial expression is transferred over media?

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The 'crying TV' is the second part of the 'Project good cry' series, which explores the relationship between crying and media with an aim to create peculiar settings for crying and sharing that moment. TV is used as the medium since it is still the major provider for media content even though there is competition with Internet.

A TV optimized for crying

-Select content for crying organized by different crying criteria
-Browse crying data generated by user participation
-Explore ‘Jump to Catalyst’ feature to have a more condensed crying experience
-Watch facial expression of others crying at the same content
-Save what you cry about & your own crying scenes
Share your crying with others & join the crying community

The TV on a TV displays other people crying at the same content. It could be a live footage of someone or a previously generated footage captured in the past, because nowadays asynchronous viewing is common, no longer bringing people at the same time. The small TV box will only display the eye area of a stranger to sustain anonymity. You can set the TV to record and save your own crying scenes as well. A cry track will be played as a background sound when it is a cry provoking moment.

The key of the project is not about who the other person is but sharing of the reaction. It goes one step further from the first project ‘I cried button,’ in which it explored the presence of others through numbers, and instead asks viewers to share part of their facial expressions for ones who are experiencing the same feeling. What would it feel like when someone else in a different part of the world is viewing similar work, and they’re brought to tears by something that they are witnessing as simultaneously as you are?

Emotion is a social and dynamic communication mechanism, and is also an internal and individual phenomenon. The importance of emotion has emerged in human-computer interaction against the traditional information model, raising questions in the exploration of its role. In lieu of exploring affective computing systems that have tried to identify users’ emotions as information units, Boehner et al. has focused on the interactional account of emotion and the role that it plays in everyday practice.

While interactional approach investigates the representational collection of emotional data and people’s interpretation and reflection in embodied emotional processes, there is also a need to explore opportunities for manifestation and expression of direct emotion and investigate how direct emotion can be amplified through designed interactive settings. Crying is well suited for experimenting an emotional outlet that can function as an acting stage for people to practice emotion and bodily resources, since the corporeal change of state is detectable in crying. Therefore the act of crying is possible to be defined as a variable in interactive systems.

The 'Crying booth' is the last part of the 'Project good cry' series, which explores the relationship between crying and media, and creates peculiar setting for crying and sharing that moment. The booth facilitates the practice of crying through a game-like interface, and is placed in a dense urban landscape. Among ‘manufactured crying,’ ‘real crying,’ and ‘DIY crying,’ users can select what type of crying they would like to try out. Provided are different sets of embedded visual and aural content to provoke crying, the length of each content, and the crying rate of it. They are asked to cry in a limited time. While the content is played, the computer will detect tears from the users who are able to cry, and show the results after the content finishes.

The focus is neither about the ability to cry nor about a perfect system that can detect tears. Instead, the intention is to invite speculation and provoke discussions around crying as an individualistic expression and the value it has to each user. “What do I cry for?” “How does it feel?” “If I cried at scripted content, does that have less value than crying at real stories?” “If I can’t cry, does it mean I’m not empathetic enough.?” The booth incorporates content discovered from the first part “I cried button,” further explores “crying TV,” by requiring the facial expression to be captured, and also raises a new question, “What is a good cry?”

-Stop by to be alone, and focus on your crying
-Choose from three different sets of content to provoke crying
-See if you can cry everyday in front of a computer, in a limited time, in a public space