A project by Heidi Kumao & Chip Jansen

CNNplusplus provides a means for TV viewers to modify the display of a live CNN news broadcast which is playing on a monitor in a cafe, waiting room, or other social space.

The automated CNNplusplus software program tracks the frequency of words used by the newscaster and lists the current top 100 words, a collection of terms that gives a penetrating insight to the day’s events. When any of these words is spoken on-air, an image, of the viewer’s choice, is immediately sourced from the internet and displayed beside the newscaster. Viewers can also type in their own fake-news headlines to scroll across the bottom of the screen. This allows viewers to change the world news to their liking and to express opinions to other viewers in the room. Incisive image choices and witty headlines composed by viewers spawn an ardent and entertaining forum for anonymous self-expression. Through the fusion of software, live TV, and audience input, this work creates a speedy and seamless compilation that allows CNNplusplus to pass for a real news broadcast. The subterfuge is subtle, playful, and at times, transcendent.


Video: How it Works


CNNplusplus-before news enhancement

CNNplusplus-after news enhanancement


CNNplusplus installation

Presented at ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge/ISEA 2006
August 4-13, 2006

See the project website for more documentation

Live news broadcast altered in real time allows viewers to watch tv in a radically new way.
A more technical explanation:
CNNplusplus is a tactical media project presenting a technologically altered newscast through subtle, automated media juxtaposition and replacement. The newscaster stays solidly positioned in the right corner of the screen as always, while the News Enhancement Program selectively replaces the other two regions of the screen. Viewer-modified headlines take the place of the weather, sports and stock “ticker,” while the image in the upper left is replaced with the results of a keyword triggered Google Image Search. CNNplusplus tracks the frequency of words used by the newscaster and lists the current top 100 words. Viewers can input an associated keyword to be used in an automatic Google Image Search when any of the top 100 words is spoken. The resulting image is immediately placed beside the (speaking) news anchor. Popular keywords such as “freedom” trigger real-time image searches to related concepts such as “colonial rule,” “occupation,” or “ice cream cone.” Preserving the appearance and sound of a normal broadcast CNNplusplus sureptitously entertains and educates its viewers. Viewers can customize the news by submitting their own headlines and keywords at

Constantly updating and changing, the “news” is never the same twice. CNNplusplus is a live-video broadcast meant to be viewed in a TV set wherever the news has been naturalized into the environment: airport lounges, bars, doctors waiting rooms, rest stops, etc. As both a news source and a critique of the news, CNNplusplus promises a dynamic, engaging, and humorous group viewing experience.