Generative Horoscopes

Posted April 2012

I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.
—Arthur C. Clarke

However relevant the movements of the planets and stars may be to our daily lives, each day’s horoscope is an interesting framework we can each create our own meaning from. Rather than searching the heavens for insight, this prototype for generating pseudo-horoscopes searches the ‘twitterverse’ for recently posted fragments of wisdom, threading together sentences with structures similar to those found in horoscopes. Here are some examples:

Life is like a roller coaster: There are ups & downs, You often feel like vomiting, but in the end there are weird pictures of you for sale. Sometimes you play for 1000 people, sometimes you play for 20. Either way you’re still playing music and that is what it’s all about folks. When u get ur car back from a valet it’s important to check the backseat to make sure the Asian Black Eyed Pea didn’t sneak in to kill u. People change and promises are broken, clouds can move and skies will be wide open, so don’t forget to take a breath. It’s always good to feel that you’re needed, but it’s really great to feel that you’re wanted. No matter how good you get you can always get better and that’s the exciting part.

Sam Grittner / Noah Gundersen / Jenny Mollen / karen ツ / THE TRUTH™ /

You often wonder to a restroom in the club, right? Sometimes you‘re not afraid of letting go, you’re just afraid of accepting the fact that its gone. Kim Jong Un says it’s important to remember the military is more than rockets. Don’t forget to send a long good night text before you sleep to make her sleep with smile and relieved to know that you love her. It’s always good to see the pool open. Summer is so close! If you can’t afford to go on vacation, you can always drink until you don’t know where you are!

V I N C E N T / / Steve Herman / Amir Zikri / Lee Hart / James Ndubuisi

Youre such a good friend that if we were on a sinking ship together & there was only one life jacket Id miss you heaps & think of you often. Sometimes you need to stop over thinking things and just follow your heart. Pretty girls usually are the ones with the ugly attitudes… That’s why its important to not trust every smile you see. Don’t forget to smell good. Its always good to take their apologize and roll with It but never forget what they did or say to you. It’s only a dream, nothing can harm you there. But if you get too frightened, you can always wake up.

✖Zachary Gontier✖ / Will Smith / Candace Shana Price / Son of a fratter / Cassandre Richardson / Disneywords

These three examples include the disparate thoughts of journalists, bodybuilders, celebrity impersonators, dancers, musicians, comedians and others, written at the moment the horoscopes were compiled.

How does it work?

The system returns the most recent twitter post for each of the following search terms: ‘you often‘, ‘sometimes you‘, ‘it’s important to‘, ‘don’t forget to‘, ‘it’s always good to‘, ‘you can always‘. The relevant sentences are isolated from each post and combined to create the horoscope. Over time new horoscopes are generated as new content is posted.


The most important variables are the search terms. Some search terms return more appropriate and interesting content than others. For example, searching for the most recent post containing ‘don’t forget to‘ often returns an interesting post but frequently returns reminders to watch TV shows or vote in polls. Some search terms return more obscure and unexpected results than others and experimenting with different search terms refines the tone of the horoscopes.

Related Work

We Feel Fine by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar is an interactive exploration of tens of thousands of sentences found in blogs, each containing the words “I feel” or “I am feeling”.

ChirpClock by Mike Bodge tells the time by searching for recent twitter posts that mention the current time. He writes, ‘It’s interesting to watch it for a while and start to see the patterns that emerge. A lot of people will tweet their exact birth time, or a bus system will tweet their arrival time. I’ve seen some muslim call to prayers and a lot of people angrily tweeting that they have to head to work.’

Listening Post 2002 by Ben Rubin and Matt Hansen searches thousands of internet chats for fragments of text:

GlobalMorning by Félicien Goguey is a visualisation of the geo-location of tweets with the phrase ‘good morning’ over a twenty-four hour period:

Jer Thorp has produced a similar work mapping the same phenomenon.


  • Introduction
  • Artworks
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Other artists
  • Prototype Artworks
  • Acknowledgements
  • Twitter