Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wattenberg, Words, and Tags

My friend DK has been migrating his blog, limeduck, from blogger to wordpress. As DK works in marketing for a software company, some of what he says technically about blogs/web programs goes over my head. However, he recently posted on tagging and tag clouds, which struck a chord. While not completely familiar with the technical programs that generate these, the idea of categorizing and classifying data, words, and concepts hits the librarian/researcher bone in me. I do enjoy how DK brings in simple everyday examples: he put a Walt Whitman poem through a tag cloud program, creating a new artistic interpretation in the process.

Inspired by this post, I rediscovered and played with Martin Wattenberg’s and Marek Walczak's amazingly cool, engaging, and simple, yet profound web artwork, The Apartment (2001). TO EXPERIENCE -- Click on the following url and then click on the blinking and word apartment to launch and just start typing in words (nouns, verbs, etc.):

Sample Apartment, From

See more of Wattenberg's work
here. (I also recommend Sand Shrimp and Shortcut). I’ve heard this local IBM researcher-cum-artist speak and he is really smart and nice. Caution! The Apartment is extremely interesting and fun and you will likely spend a long time playing with it. Be sure to look at the constellation of apartments (all apartments) and click around! You can sort the apartments by vision, story, intimacy, secrecy, etc. Each is a discrete poem/creation in itself.
From "The Apartment" statement:

Viewers are confronted with a blinking cursor. As they type, rooms begin to take shape in the form of a two-dimensional plan, similar to a blueprint. The architecture is based on a semantic analysis of the viewer's words, reorganizing them to reflect the underlying themes they express. The apartments are then clustered into buildings and cities according to their linguistic relationships....Apartment is inspired by the idea of the memory palace. In a mnemonic technique from a pre-Post-It era, Cicero imagined
inscribing the themes of a speech on a suite of rooms in a villa, and then reciting that speech by mentally walking from space to space. Establishing an equivalence between language and space, Apartment connects the written word with different forms of spatial configurations.

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